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Vella, N. (1992). Psychoanalysis and Groups: History and Dialectics, by David Rosenfeld, Karnac Books, 190 pp, £14.95 pb. Free Associations, 3(1):146-149.

(1992). Free Associations, 3(1):146-149

Psychoanalysis and Groups: History and Dialectics, by David Rosenfeld, Karnac Books, 190 pp, £14.95 pb

Review by:
Norman Vella

In this book David Rosenfeld, an Argentinian psychoanalyst until now encountered only in professional journals, extends his interest in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre into the realms of his own Kleinian discipline. By developing Sartre's formulation of the five evolutionary stages of groups during moments of historical significance into a perspective with which to see therapy groups he brings a fresh approach to the understanding of the early phases in the life of a group.

He supports his methodology with the argument that any object of study is clarified by placing it at the focal point of two converging but complementary theories. While one may take issue with the scientific validity of this method per se, a broader-minded view would be happy with the general point that the object, i.e., psychoanalytic study, is enriched by inputs from adjacent disciplines. His theory is closely buttressed by a wealth of experiential material with particular reference to linguistics and primitive body imagery.

The historical development of existentialist thinking has led to radical divisions. There are however some common themes which can usefully inform the psychotherapist's view of ‘man in the world’.

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