A – Z of Groups and Groupwork by Mark Doel and Timothy B. Kelly, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN 978 0 230 30857 2, 9 + 241pp.
This book is part of a new series of A to Z books from Palgrave Macmillan. As the name implies, each book contains a set of dictionary-style definitions covering different aspects of the subject concerned, in this case groups and groupwork. Groupwork is a method that can be very effective in a variety of ways, a powerful way of bringing about much-needed change in what can often be very demanding circumstances. Sadly, it is not used as much as it used to be, but its value as a helpful resource remains unchanged and there is certainly much to be gained from making much fuller use of the empowering opportunities skilled groupwork offers.
Experience has taught me that any book that has Mark Doel’s name on the cover will have much to offer. He is one of those relatively rare authors who succeeds in discussing complex issues in an accessible way without oversimplifying them. In this new work he teams up with Timothy B. Kelly, another experienced groupworker, to produce an A to Z guide to groups and groupwork. The result is a well-written and very helpful overview of groupwork.
I believe this book will be helpful in a number of ways. For people who are undertaking groupwork, it will serve as a useful reference guide to be dipped in as and when required. For people who are new to groupwork it will be a useful introduction that gives a good flavour of what is involved in what they are about to embark on, including the challenges and the rewards. For students there will be much here to help them with assignments and their learning more broadly.
So, overall, this is a very welcome addition to the literature on this important topic. As an A to Z guide should be, it is broad ranging in its scope. It is also clearly written and very well informed by two authors who quite obviously have considerable experience and expertise in the subject. Anyone involved in, or considering becoming involved in, groupwork should have a copy of this book.