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Hinshelwood, B. (1989). Commentary by a Kleinian Psycho-Analyst. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(4):584-588.

(1989). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(4):584-588

Commentary by a Kleinian Psycho-Analyst Related Papers

Bob Hinshelwood

The group therapist has to choose his level of work - an analytic approach or a supportive approach. The therapist in the group presented has opted for the latter, a supportive group; probably rightly so, with these kinds of patients who are quite disturbed and some very chronic. He does not attend to the unconscious enactment of the conflicts and defences but devotes himself to constructing a safe situation basing it,

I imagine, on Yallom's therapeutic factors: cohesion, acceptance, instillation of hope, conscious self-disclosure and so forth. We can, and perhaps should, look at the session in these terms. However, from the excellent and detailed process record we have, we can also look at the group's unconscious dynamics even though the group was not conducted analytically. My own interest is in doing this in the belief that an understanding of the unconscious dynamics is helpful even for the supportive group approach.

Firstly I shall make some general remarks about the group culture in this session, its conflicts and the defences operating; and then begin to look at some of the group dynamic process (the first half of the group) that emerges from the record.

The group therapist believes that the members of his group are angry with him and that this needs to be expressed consciously. He encourages them to do so. However a central issue in this group session appeared to be the members' experience of being encouraged by the therapist to divulge their feelings towards each other.

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