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Bion, W.R. (1952). Group Dynamics: A Re-View. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 33:235-247.

(1952). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 33:235-247

Group Dynamics: A Re-View

W. R. Bion

Using knowledge derived from his psycho-analytic studies Freud attempted to illuminate some of the problems which had been raised by Le Bon, McDougall and others in their studies of the group. In this article I shall briefly summarize some theories at which I have arrived by applying to groups, in which I was participating, the intuitions developed by present-day psycho-analytic training. These theories differ from many others, in merits and defects alike, in having been forged in the actual emotional stresses they are intended to describe and they therefore constitute a different approach from that made by Freud. It will be noticed that I introduce some concepts new to psycho-analysis; this is in part because I am dealing with different subject-matter and in part because I wished to see if, by making a start disencumbered by previous theories, I might reach a point at which my views of the group and psycho-analytic views of the individual could be compared and thereby judged to be either complementary or divergent.

I assume that every individual acts as if he believes that the group has an attitude to him and that it is possible to put into words what this attitude is. Translation into precise speech of what I suppose to be the attitude of the group to me or to someone else, and of the individual to the group constitutes the interpretations.

The conclusions that follow represent the distillation of some eight years of work. These are they:

In any group there may be discerned certain broad trends of mental activity.

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