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Hinshelwood, B. (1994). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 10(3):315-316.

(1994). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 10(3):315-316


Bob Hinshelwood

One section of this issue is taken up with the attempts to apply psychodynamic thinking, and practice, to social phenomena and to the social setting of psychotherapy. There has been a considerable effort, for almost as long as there has been psychoanalysis, to understand society in terms of the psycho-analytic view of what an individual is. A number of our papers here debate aspects of psycho-analytic social psychology. Joseph Berke gives an account of the way that psychotic experiences can be moved between a patient, his therapist and the milieu in which both live. Such a milieu, the therapeutic community, is charged with the task of containing that which is uncontainable by the individual. Samuel Stein describes intolerable experiences in a medical institution when staff are under pressure. That hospital, not consciously designed to withstand those experiences, appears to have created unwittingly a specific style of containing those personal experiences. In consequence at least some individuals suffer consequences which can only be described as ‘pathogenic’. René Kaes is concerned with this fact; the intention to care often gives rise to institutions with an exceedingly uncaring practice. He presents a theoretical formulation of such institutions where individuals work out the unconscious meaning of their impulse to care. He draws on a tradition of psycho-analytic thought about institutions that derives from the South American, José Bleger; unconscious sociability has a deeply depersonalising aspect.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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