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Hinshelwood, B. (2003). Commentary from A Kleinian Analyst and Group Analyst. Brit. J. Psychother., 20(1):79-82.

(2003). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 20(1):79-82

Commentary from A Kleinian Analyst and Group Analyst Related Papers

Bob Hinshelwood

As the therapist says, this clinical material shows all the characteristics of the first session of a therapeutic group. The levels of anxiety and bewilderment not unnaturally overwhelm everyone, perhaps even the therapist. I will try to describe what I see as the members' reactions, and then a few remarks about the therapist and the way he copes with this nearly impossible situation. (I realize that the therapist may be a woman, but for simplicity's sake I will refer to the maleness of the therapist.)

Much of the session is taken up with the members talking about the feeling of not knowing each other, and of bewilderment with the setting. There is an expressed annoyance with the therapist who is made responsible for their discomfort. We can see the annoyance as a reaction to the familiar sense of bewilderment and helplessness in an initial session, expressed here in Jane's initial confrontation with the therapist, ‘What's the point of coming …’ etc. However, this annoyed reaction is deftly undercut by Toby's guess that ‘We're supposed to do it ourselves’, a sentiment which goes some way to build up a bit of confidence that they are not as helpless as they feel.


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