Practice Group health is essential to the health of Collaborative Practice as a whole.

Much of the energy that we put into our practice group work involves intra-Practice Group relations. Intra denotes inside or internal. Intra-Practice Group relations describes everything we do individually within each of our practice groups, from attending meetings, studying Collaborative literature, attending trainings, networking, public speaking, making presentations, and developing relationships within everything that our practice groups undertake.

The importance of intra-practice group relations cannot be overstated. Through this work we grow individually as Collaborative Practitioners. As a committed group of individuals joined together by our practice group structure we build our local Collaborative Communities. We network. We educate the public, the legal community, others, and ourselves. We become larger than ourselves as individuals.

We miss an opportunity, however, if we stop there with our practice group work.

While intra- refers to within and internal, inter- refers to between. Inter-practice group work refers to relations between practice groups. This can mean both relations between local practice groups and / or relations between practice groups in different states and countries.

While intra-practice group relations are part of the current Collaborative discussion, inter-practice group relations are often overlooked.

Inter-practice group work is an untapped source of learning for collaborative practitioners. By not exploring inter-practice group relations we are missing an opportunity to learn information that will make us better collaborative practitioners individually, allow us to share information with other practice groups, and provide everyone involved in that dialogue an opportunity to share what they learn with their local practice groups.

Here are just some of the benefits that I see of inter-Practice Group involvement:

  • Exchanges between socially/culturally dissimilar practice groups
  • Sharing information about intra-practice group work done by each
  • Reenergized Practice Groups
  • Reenergizing individual Collaborative Practitioners
  • Learning from others missteps and successes
  • Networking
  • Opportunity to develop practice public speaking topics and skills
  • Creating opportunities for future collaborations
  • Building community

What do you think about the distinction between intra- and inter-practice group relations? Is the distinction without meaning? Are there other benefits that you see to inter-practice group relations?

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