Group Imago and Group Development


This article suggests some theoretical adjustments to Clarkson’s (1991) work on groups and specifically to her correlation of Berne’s (1963) work on group imagoes with Tuckman’s (1965) work on stages of group development. The author suggests two additional phases of an individual’s subjective experience of groups—the secondarily operative group imago and the historical group imago—as well as a realignment of Clarkson’s (1991) own addition of the clarified group imago in order to offer a more consistent reading across the two models offered by Berne and Tuckman. The two additions as well as the complete developmental sequence are illustrated with three case examples. The author suggests that, while Berne’s and Tuckman’s two models represent different approaches to science, together they offer a comprehensive understanding of group development as well as individual development in and through the group.