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Derosis, L.E. (1955). Some Retarding Forces in Group Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 15(1):41-44.

(1955). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15(1):41-44

Some Retarding Forces in Group Psychoanalysis

Louis E. Derosis

A retarding force in analytic therapy is any process arising during the group session whose operation impedes the progress of the group. Progress refers to the movement of the group in the direction of self-realization. Generally stated, the whole neurosis is a retarding force. However, we utilize the term also for specific processes which arise as the group undergoes internal change. It is determined by the neurotic process operating in the group that retarding forces will be generated and are, therefore, unavoidable. If the therapy is to progress they must be dealt with as soon as they appear, in whatever guise they present themselves. This discussion will not concern the techniques for handling the problem. I am limiting it to a presentation of some retarding forces which appear to arise commonly in group therapy, using the Horney theory.

First, it is the analyst's task to identify the retarding force and to locate it in the general continuum, that is, to discover its connections and how it works to foster the neurosis. Secondly, the analyst has the task of bringing it to the attention of the group. Thirdly, the analyst should help the members to engage in a meaningful manner with it, so as to encourage both healthy new growth and to undermine other neurotic processes.

In addition, when retarding forces appear they should be assessed in terms of how they are currently relating to the functioning of the various members. What may be a valuable inroad on a retarding force for one patient may have the reverse effect for another. In this connection, we should observe whether it causes the others to join in with it and, if so, in what manner.

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