Working with teams and networks under stress

Course overview

Teams and networks are about relationships. We all function in relation to networks, whether we are part of one, or feel outside and not properly connected. In health, education and social care we are also used to the idea that we work in teams, but the meaning and functioning of teams has changed and become less clear in times of constant organisational change and diminishing resources.

The impact of trying to maintain complex working relationships under strain has an impact on those working within them – and ultimately on the children, adults, parents and families who use our services. Often there are processes at work in teams and in networks that are hidden and unconscious, and people find themselves functioning in unexpected ways that are hard to understand – especially when there is little time to stop and reflect.

This course is aimed at providing a learning experience that is applicable to ongoing working life and the challenges presented by the need for more integrated models of work in the public sector. It will help you to understand what happens ‘under the surface’ in a network, how this impacts on those using services, and try out different ways of functioning to see how you can have influence network processes.

This two day course is designed to create a ‘temporary network’, where course members have the chance to work as a network and explore the underlying processes. 

This opportunity for experiential group learning will form the main part of each of the 2 days. This will be supported by lecture/discussions relating to psychoanalytic and open-systems theory about group and organisational processes, and by some guided exercises helping you to think about your own role and functioning within your work setting.

The first day includes more introductory material and has more structure within the ‘temporary network’, and the second day will build on this learning and on the work of the online forum in the intervening weeks. Themes will include:

• Group functioning and group task

• Power and authority in the work-place

• Diversity

• Working in challenging situations

• Managing risk

• Working in and out of role

• Power and authority

• Leadership and “followship”

This course aims to give you:

  • awareness of professional relationships within teams and networks and their impact on service users and professionals.
  • insight into group dynamics and your own pattern of relating within teams.
  • a knowledge of unconscious influences on your working role gained through shared experiential learning.
  • an ability for self-reflection on professional development.

Most of the learning will be experiential group learning within the context of the 'temporary network'.

The course will be taught using a range of delivered presentations, guided exercises, group discussions, core reading and access to a dedicated online resource for the course.

Between the two days there will be the use of a dedicated online forum and access to online material in order to access reading to encourage continuity.

This course is open to anybody working in a network context within the health, social care and education sectors across a range of roles, who would be encountering the challenges of working within teams and networks that face rising pressure from all directions.

In reality, networks consist of people working across a very wide range of roles, settings, and in different positions within the management structure. For this reason, we welcome people from an equally wide range of situations, so that the workshops really offer you a chance to learn about the varied perspectives that can influence or are influenced by the processes at work. There will be chances to explore your capacities for leadership, and for ‘followership’; to understand the impact you have on groups and vice versa; and to identify areas for your own professional development.

New dates for this course will be advertised here in due course. Please contact us at to be added to the waiting list.

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
2 days
Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, NW3 5BA
Admission status:
Course lead:
Lydia Hartland-Rowe

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