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The Systems-Centered Approach to the Group-as-a-Whole

Yvonne Agazarian and Susan Gantt
Group
Vol. 29, No. 1, The Group-as-a-Whole: An Update (Volume 1) (MARCH 2005), pp. 163-185
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41719363
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Systems-Centered Approach to the Group-as-a-Whole
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Abstract

The systems-centered approach introduces a specific systems theory, a theory of living human systems (TLHS) and its systems-centered practice. Systems-centered therapy (SCT) works with both individuals and the group-as-a-whole in both clinical and organizational contexts. The theory of living humans systems offers a systems view of the group-as-a-whole, composed of three interdependent nested subsystems: the groupas-a-whole system, the subgroup system, and the member system. As the subgroup shares its boundaries with both the member and group-as-a-whole systems, SCT has suggested that intervening to the subgroup has more impact on the whole system than intervening to either the group-as-a-whole or its members. In working with the groupas-a-whole system, SCT introduces the following techniques: functional subgrouping as a conflict resolution method for integrating difference in the group-as-a-whole; role, goal, and context as a map for orienting member behavior toward maintaining a group-as-a-whole goal orientation; filtering out "noise" in communication so that information can get across without distortion; and using Lewins force field to identify which specific restraining forces to weaken in each phase of development so that the inherent drive in system development is released at all system levels: the member, the subgroup, and the group-as-a-whole.

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