|Stein, A. (1964). Experiences in Groups and Other Papers: By W. R. Bion. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1961. 198 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 33:441-442.|
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(1964). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 33:441-442
Experiences in Groups and Other Papers: By W. R. Bion. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1961. 198 pp.
This book contains nine previously published articles derived from the experience of Bion (some of it with Richman) in using intragroup tensions in work and , first of soldiers and later of patients at the Tavistock Clinic since 1943.
Every group, says Bion, is motivated by certain ''. The first is 'that the group is met in order to be sustained by a leader on whom it depends for nourishment, and spiritual, and protection'. The second assumption is the assumption: the group has come together for purposes of procreation, not merely for sexual purposes, but to provide the hope that, through the appearance of an as yet unborn leader (a genius or messiah), the group and its members will be preserved and fulfilled. The third basic assumption is that of -, 'that the group has met to something or to run away from it'.
These ideas are inactively present in all individuals and become active and observable only when a group comes together. They underlie social, organized such as the church, the army, and the aristocracy. They are , emotional, and completely irrational in contrast with the and rational attitudes of the work group. They the group to seek a leader—an unborn genius, an idea, a bible, a patient in a therapy group—who will further these basic aims of the group. The leader is also to these aims. One basic assumption alternates with another in mental activity of the group. arises when the group comes too much under the sway of these ; it then turns to another leader—the therapist in a therapy group—to guide it back to the rational goals of the work group.
Bion's last chapter attempts to relate these concepts to other psychoanalytic views of group dynamics; he believes that they supplement rather than contradict those of Freud. Freud focused only on the assumption and the more (the more developed, less regressed) aspects of this as it developed from the relationships of the family. Bion believes his views, derived from those of , give a more basic and complete view of the dynamics of the mental activity of the group. 'Each basic assumption contains features that correspond so closely with extremely primitive
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