Group relations. Understand leadership and authority from a systems perspective.

We are a diverse community of managers, consultants, mental health professionals, educators, community leaders, and entrepreneurs, exploring group relations together.

What is Group Relations?

Group relations theory offers a dynamic lens for exploring conscious and unconscious behavior within groups, organizations, and social systems. More specifically, group relations thinking offers insight into our experiences of group life across different contexts (i.e., within the multiple systems that make up daily life), such as in our families, the workplace, and society at large.

Through group relations, we can explore in more depth the interplay between leadership and authority, membership, and group identity, to better understand our own behavior in groups, as well as that of others.

The group relations approach to learning is through experience. Thus, a group relations conference (GRC) is an experiential learning opportunity to study one's experience in a temporary organizational system. A GRC is an intensive participatory process that gives members the opportunity to study their own behavior as it happens in real time without the distractions of everyday social niceties, workplace pressures, or protocols. In this unique environment, hidden aspects of our every day are often brought to light. These behaviors and their meanings are engaged and explored in ways not usually considered. Typically, a team of consultants assist the group in determining what thoughts, feelings, and actions – both conscious and unconscious – support our effectiveness and which detract from it. Participants in experiential conferences often report “aha” moments that can last for days, months or even years.

For more information on group relations, browse our resources.

Who We Are

The New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations, and Social Systems is a nonprofit organization that brings together a rich community of devoted professionals and students to explore the vast world of group dynamics, rooted in the Tavistock Model of Group Relations.

We are a regional affiliate of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI), a national group relations community of students, teachers, and practitioners.

The New York Center is led by the Executive Committee, a membership-elected body which includes various leadership roles serving terms of three years.

Executive Committee 

Yaromil Fong-Olivares

Mineko (Anne) Legendy
Vice President

Frank Carson

Elyce Cole

Alan Ruiz

Mette Charis Buchman

Nina Traylor


The New York Center has been hosting events for over 30 years. See below for a summary of our events. Click here for upcoming AKRI-sponsored conferences.


Application Event: The Disorganizing Force of Desire. What might a psychoanalytic reading of desire help us understand about organizations? In this conversation with psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster, we will explore how Freud develops his concept of desire and how he conceptualizes the project of psychoanalysis, including its institutions. December 11, 11-12 pm ET, online. See here for more information and how to register.

Application Event: 
Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Exploring Tavistock Group Relations in the Digital Age. Mónica Rocío Velarde Lazarte invites members to reflect on the roots of Group Relations as a practice, in order to consider what can be learned by looking backward and how an orientation towards this history can illuminate future applications for this method. The event will take place on a new online program designed specifically for Group Relations Conferences. November 12, 11 am - 1 pm ET.  See here for more information and how to register.

Social Dreaming Matrices: 
Our monthly series continues on the first Saturday of each month from 5 - 6:30 pm ET. Through sharing dreams and freely associating to their content, we will examine the systems, small and large, which we are all a part. See here for more information. 

Application Event:
Critical Conversations About Race, Power, and Authority - Mary McRae has invited a team of experienced group relations consultants to explore this topic with her.  She will use short vignettes from the video Group Dynamics in a Multicultural World as a stimulant for a critical conversation about race, power, and authority, then and there, here and now.  How can we talk to each other?  September 22 | 7 - 9 pm ET | Online. See here for more information and how to register.

Application Event: Mónica Rocio Velarde Lazarate will present Hope of the Amazon, her adaptation of Group Relations Conferences and training for Amazonian communities in Peru. The program was founded and designed by Mónica in 2010 as a societal intervention and formed by representatives of eleven ethnic groups of the Peruvian Amazon in the city of Iquitos. June 4 | 11 am - 12:30 pm ET | Online. See here for more information and how to register.

Application Event: Mannie Sher and David Lawlor, editors of An Introduction to Systems Psychodynamics: Consultancy Research and Training will define systems psychodynamics, and will discuss how a holistic approach to organizational and social problems can offer a fresh perspective on complex issues. May 15 | 1 - 2:30 pm ET | See here for more information and how to register.

Application Event:
Using examples from his recently published book, Traveling through Time: How Trauma Plays Itself out in Families, Organizations, and Society, M. Gerard Fromm will discuss the effects of trauma on organizations and societal dynamics, through a consideration of what psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott, calls "potential space." March 15 | 7 - 8 pm ET. See here for more information and how to register.

Group Relations Conference:
Race Relations in America: Leadership, Organizational Dynamics, and ________, directed by Patrick Jean-Pierre, an online event, March 25-27. Visit the GRC page to learn more...

Application Event:
A virtual screening and discussion of the 1983 film Who’s in Charge? directed by Canadian filmmaker Allan King (1930 - 2009). The film documents a 4-day working conference directed by Gordon Lawrence on being employed and unemployed in Canada which at the time had reached record levels of unemployment. February 5 from 10 am - 1 pm ET. See here for more information and how to register.

Social Dreaming Matrices (cont.): 
A monthly series on Saturdays (Jan 22nd, Feb 26th, Mar 26th, Apr 23rd, May 28th, & Jun 25th) from 5 - 6:30 pm ET of socially dreaming across physical, cultural, and language boundaries. See here for more information.


Social Dreaming Matrices: A monthly series starting September 25, of socially dreaming across physical, cultural, and language boundaries. See here for more information.

A New Lecture Series:
Group Relations Foundations with Sarah Rosenbaum, a weekly series of four online learning sessions held on Mondays (Oct 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th) from 6:30 - 8:30 pm ET. See here for more information.

Group Relations Forum:
Standards, Structures, and Institutions: Reimagining Authority, Value, and ________ in a World of Difference, directed by Patrick Jean-Pierre, hosted online, June 5.

Social Dreaming Matrices:
Dream 2021, a monthly series of online social dreaming matrices held January 23, February 27, March 27, April 24, May 22, and June 26 from 4 - 5:30 pm ET. See the here for more information.

Group Relations Forum:
United and Divided We Stand: Leadership, Authority, Political Identity, and ________, directed by Patrick Jean-Pierre, hosted online, February 20.


Community Event: A virtual community gathering to reflect on the matter of Black lives and the ongoing psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, June 6.

Community Event: An online Social Dreaming Matrix to make sense of members' collective experience in the midst of a public health crisis, March 31.

Community Event: A virtual community gathering to reflect and allow space for members to share their experience and understanding of the unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, March 17.

Group Relations Conference:
Leadership & Membership in Our Time: Working with Identity, Authority, and Boundaries, directed by Howard Friedman, hosted at The City College of New York from January 17–19.


Group Relations Conference: Finding Voice – Listening to Others: Leadership and Authority in Groups & Systems, directed by Howard Friedman, hosted at The City College of New York from January 18–20.


Holiday Colloquium: Application of Group Work in Real Life, directed by Yaromil Fong-Olivares, hosted at the Community Resource Exchange.

Group Relations ConferenceLeadership Authority Identity In Groups and Systems, directed by Howard Friedman, hosted at The City College of New York from January 19-21.


Holiday Colloquium: Intergenerational Interactions and Transitions, an Embedded Groups Dialogue, directed by Asha Gipson, Yaromil Fong-Olivares, Leslie Migliaccio, hosted at The New School in partnership with the Change Forum.


Holiday Colloquium: Talking About Structural Inequalities in Everyday Life: New Politics of Race in Groups, Organizations, and Social Systems, presentations by Ellen Short and Leo Wilton, editors.

Community Event:
 What Do Institutions Hold for Us? An Embedded Groups Dialogue, directed by Howard Friedman, held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in collaboration with the installation, “Down the River,” by Andrea Fraser.


Holiday Colloquium: The Color Bind: Talking (and Not Talking) About Race at Work, with authors Erica Gabrielle and Tamara Buckley.

Group Relations Conference: Authority and Leadership: The Race for/of Employment, directed by Eliat Aram, hosted at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Community EventRace Relations in the United States: An Embedded Groups Dialogue, directed by Howard Friedman, hosted at New York University.


Holiday Colloquium: Group Dynamics in a Multicultural World, a video presentation by Mary McRae.

Case Study Presentation: Leadership and Irrationality in School Reform: Through a Group Relations Lens, presentation by Maggie Barber.

Group Relations Conference: What! Now? Authority and Leadership: Studying the Cost of Work, directed by Eliat Aram, co-sponsored with Teachers College, Columbia University.


Holiday Colloquium: Identity in Consulting, with Mary McRae and Robert C. "RC" Whitehouse.

Group Relations Conference: Authority and Leadership in Groups and Organizations: Exploring the Price of Learning, directed by Eliat Aram.


Community Event: Sexual Identity, Leadership, and Authority: An Embedded Groups Dialogue, directed by Frank Carson and Laurie Nisco, hosted at New York University.


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The New York Center
408 W. 34th Street, Suite 1B
New York, NY 10001

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We are always looking for new members to help create a dynamic and energetic organization that leads the way in understanding, applying, and innovating group relations theories and concepts.

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