Reviewed by Catriona Macgregor, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin


This practical groupwork manual offers a valuable resource for healthcare workers and students from a variety of healthcare professional backgrounds, especially those who facilitate people with an intellectual disability. The resource is aimed at mental health service users, youth groups and older clients who may be returning to learning, as well as people with a mild or moderate learning disability.

The main aim of the resource is to provide a template(s) for a variety of potential facilitators who may teach or practice through the medium of groupwork. The authors have combined their experience from the fields of occupational therapy and adult education. They both have extensive expertise in mental health settings in the United Kingdom.

The thirty themes identified in the manual cover a broad range of topics that could be adapted to a variety of settings. The authors set out clearly how facilitators can structure a group, while also promoting the opportunity for individual creativity by developing and expanding their own ideas appropriate to their own client group.

The themes were not developed from any particular theory or model, thus allowing the facilitator the opportunity of working within their own philosophical and theoretical framework that is in keeping with their professional background.

The underlying objectives within the themes focus on the facilitator adopting a collaborative approach between clients, people and facilitators, while enabling them to develop their own skills and knowledge.

The case scenarios and vignettes provide a useful way for reflecting, promoting awareness and a problem-solving approach, which in turn provides the framework for a creative environment through the medium of groupwork. This medium promotes the opportunity for personal development.

This resource provides practical, flexible and adaptable ideas for groupwork with a variety of clients, people in a variety of healthcare settings, both for students undertaking professional courses and for qualified healthcare staff. I would highly recommend it for both practitioners, care staff and educational staff who teach on professional courses so that it may be available to a wide audience who are involved or connected to health care.

CREATIVE THEMES FOR GROUPWORK AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT by Susan Pinn-Atkinson and Jenny Woolloff (2003). Bicester, Oxon OX26 4LQ, Speechmark Publishing. ISBN 0 86388 315 X. Stg£29.95.