We are social beings, so it is impossible to overlook the role of groups in our lives. Whether it is about groups of belonging, like the familiar, or of reference, like an urban tribe, we are always in direct contact with some kind of group. This fact, added to the principle of Gestalt “the whole is more than the sum of the parts”, justifies the group as a unit of analysis and the theoretical-practical paradigm of Group psychology.
What if a group of people suffered from a personality disorder?
Understanding the group as greater than the sum of its members implies that the group cannot be understood as an extrapolation of the individual behaviors of the people who make it up. We cannot even say that the same person develops the same processes individually and in groups; and therefore the therapeutic role of groups.
Now, if they can be therapeutic, can we also constitute pathological groups? With that question unanswered, let’s take a group view and see what traits groups might have if they got sick. Who knows … will we be part of a pathological group?
You may be interested in: “Personality Disorders: Myths and Facts”
1. Paranoid group
the paranoia it appears when delusions lead to distortion of reality and mistrust. In a group view, it results in a group with a feedback deficit both intra and intergroup. By this, we refer to the fact that no Feedback is offered abroad, nor among the members themselves.
Therefore, the group develops many inferences so as not to contrast the information, does not express its interpretation and does not know if it is correct. This makes the group suspect, source of rumors and several versions of the same Aco. They are stuck in a rule-making and trust-building phase, constantly tempting the opinion and commitment of their members so that they can say “yes, this is the way it is” and gain safety.
2. Schizoid group
We can think that a person schizoid he cannot integrate a group, by his indifference towards social relations. Now, let’s take a group view and examine a schizoid “group”.
This insulation would manifest itself at the group level by a rigid and impermeable membrane. The group membrane is the structural element that it helps to define the boundaries of the group and to regulate its communication with the outside world. In this way, as it gains in rigidity, the interaction of the group with its environment is prevented. In this case, the effects are bidirectional; not only is no information emitted from the group as in the paranoid, but it is also not received.
3. Schizotypal group
You have surely already said in a group that when faced with an absurd sentence, everyone laughed out loud and wondered “what is going on here?”. It is one of the forms of expression of group culture, of how the group evolves over time and gains coherence as a particular entity through norms, forms of relationship, roles. , themes, etc. characteristics.
This could be understood as the reality of the group. however, if this reality becomes complex and begins to differ from the exogroup – outside the group – we are in a schizotypal group, With a distortion of reality; a group that has nowhere to understand it because it does not seem to speak our language.
4. Antisocial group
One of the reasons for group formation is the pursuit of safety; the group as lifeguards. Have the opportunity to gain the trust of many people it provides us with a safe environment in which to connect. For this, we must create group norms, both explicit – expressed verbally – and implicit – those that are not said but that everyone knows.
However, antisocial disorder has some problems with norms, and in antisocial groups specifically with norms of intergurpal interaction. At the same time as the group establishes intragroup rules to ensure their relationship, it also establishes them in an intergroup manner, to ensure how to interact with the environment. If these fail, we find ourselves in a group that violates the integrity of others, that does not respect the group membrane of another group, and with dysfunctional forms of outgroup relationship.
5. Limit group
Boundary disorder is one of the most complex at the individual level and also in their collective development. A group of limits is a group with a group activity focused on the affective level. It is a group which does not manage and which only expresses, therefore it is characterized by having no place for reflection and only for action.
This leads him to impulsive relationships stemming from the emotional climate of the group at that time, a very dysfunctional intergroup like they do not take into account either the semantics or the communicative pragmatics. That is, they don’t control what or how they express it, and they don’t care what to do with the bomb they just dropped, which leads them to self-destructive relationships. with the environment and with the group itself.
6. Narcissistic group
The phrase narcissism explains that success is everything: “the end justifies the means”. This is why the narcissistic group is a totally task-oriented group, although the goal is neither productivity nor performance, but the status achieved to accomplish the task.
These are groups that live in a continuous competitive relationship, because their group identity is based on the accomplishment of the task and on social comparison with other groups. Wow, if with me all my goals and then I compare myself to those who haven’t, I will value myself positively. Many of you may have remembered certain workgroups in studios or in the workplace, the ones you think are “how much it costs them to walk on their heads”.
7. Histrionic Group
In histrionics too he likes to be the center of attention, But in this case on an emotional level. This fact already characterizes the histrionic groups, their socio-emotional orientation. If you give them a task to do in histrionic groups, don’t expect to see it finished, as they will fail to express the emotions that this task arouses in them.
Just this is another malfunction, continuous emotional expression, but without management, as attention would cease if they resolved emotional conflicts. In this case, the emotional climate, central theme of their intra and intergroup relations, as well as recreating themselves in conflicts without ending them, is again essential.
8. Avoidance group
This type of group resembles the schizoid in that it does not maintain out-group relationships. This is explained by the fact that at the individual level, avoidant disorder is characterized by social withdrawal through fear of rejection. Understanding at the group level, the group anticipates negative interactions between groups, so that its membrane is rigid and impermeable.
However, all his interest lies in these interactions with other groups even if he does not have them, characterizing their internal relations by a communication with an intergroup theme. The fact that they are talking about something of which they are not aware implies that they distort their knowledge and the reality of other groups. In this way, they live in a constant social comparison between this “we are” and this “they are”, from which they form their structure. Maybe some bands resonate with you that once in them, they were just talking about another band!
9. Dependent group
These groups can be confused with subgroups because they must always alienate from other groups. The dependent group is characterized by the subordination to other groups and for intergroup communication with unrealistic feedback. Subordination is given by the absence of a clear or overly delegated leadership, which does not assume responsibilities and leaves the group without premises to follow.
In this context, group processes are delegated to other groups, such as task management or decision making. In addition, it is necessary to stay connected with the other group, so that no feedback is established and even less if it is negative. In other words, the group can subordinate itself to another which can lead to ruin and say nothing; Close the crash with the iceberg and the sunken Titanic!
10. Obsessive-compulsive group
If anything characterizes obsessive-compulsive disorder, it’s cognitive rigidity in guidelines and constrained behavior. However, with a group vision, this rigidity is transferred to the group structure. TOC groups would be those with a large number of rigid rules, both prescriptive – what should be done – and proscriptive – what should not be done.
As long as they transgress, they will have severe penalties, with a considerable reduction in status. Likewise, they also have a rigidity in roles, delimiting what position and function each member fulfills. These are therefore groups in which the socialization of new members is difficult and in which structural rigidity also regulates inflexible forms of intergroup relations.
Conclusions and nuances
The above classification it is not a diagnosis for groupsBut it can be used to take into account how structural and procedural changes can cause group dysfunctions.
Realize when the rules of the working group become strict, how in the family the main problem is that of other families or how with friends you talk and deal with conflicts that arise, but without a clear intention to resolve them. This is how we can observe that a group can be pathologicalSee that the same group has personality and ultimately come together with that group.
- Gil, F. and Alcover, F. (1999). Introduction to group psychology. Madrid: Pyramid.
- Palacín, M. and Aiger, M. (2014). Group communication. In R. Martínez and JM Guerra (Coords.), Psychosocial aspects of communication (chap. 14, pp. 193-206). Madrid: Pyramid.
- Sanchez, JC (2002). Group psychology. Theory, process and applications. Buenos Aires: McGraw-Hill.