The mental health treatment team as a work group: team dynamics and the role of the leader

Psychiatry. 1992 Aug;55(3):250-64. doi: 10.1080/00332747.1992.11024598.


Although treatment teams have been examined often in the mental health literature, this literature seldom addresses the crucial property of "teamness"--the key set of intangible phenomena that allow a team to function synergistically as more than the sum of its parts, and with a sense of team identity. In this paper, the concept of the work group is used to develop a framework for understanding the factors contributing to effective team functioning and identity, an their implications for the tasks of team leadership and sociotherapy: "the art of maintaining a social system in which the treatment of an individual patient can best occur" (Edelson 1970). Leadership activities that promote team cohesiveness and boundary maintenance are discussed, and suggestions are provided for ways in which the subjective experiences and emotional reactions of the leader and team members can be used to promote improved task performance and clinical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Countertransference
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Leadership*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team*