Event: 11th November 2012, London, England
Dr Kass was once again invited by University College London (UCL Centre for Space Medicine), to conduct a two-hour workshop on psychological issues & group dynamics in extreme environments, particularly in the domain of long-duration human spaceflight. This workshop is part of an optional course on Space Medicine and Extreme Environment Physiology.
This popular course attracts a variety of students from the Faculty of Life Sciences at UCL. This course series has been run under the leadership of Dr Kevin Fong of the UCL Medical School, who is also director at the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine).
The first part of the workshop concerns the problems encountered in long-duration spaceflight, analysing the various stressors suffered by the crew, some being unique to the space environment, while others are related to the constraints of the habitat. But probably most important, are the psychosocial stressors faced when a small group is isolated together in a small space, and being very interdependent on each other for survival.
The second part of the workshop covers some key generic elements of group dynamics that are of paramount importance to groups and teams, whether working in long or distant space missions, such as a journey to Mars, or every-day workplace situations here on Earth. Some of the elements expounded on were: methods of situational leadership and handling of conflict – both of which are key to ensuring that a group works together as an effective team.