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Hinshelwood, R.D. (1984). The Evolution of Group Analysis: Edited by Malcolm Pines. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1983. Pp. 448.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:501-502.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:501-502

The Evolution of Group Analysis: Edited by Malcolm Pines. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1983. Pp. 448.

Review by:
R. D. Hinshelwood

The term 'group analysis' has acquired a comfortable vagueness. It embraces in a benign way many points of view and outlooks that have in common the treatment of patients in the context of a whole group. A great deal is made by group analysts of the 'group as a whole', in order to distinguish the method from its older and bigger sibling, individual psychoanalysis. The bringing together of different individuals into a new whole is obviously exciting to group-analysts. As a professional group they are extremely open to differences amongst themselves. But with one exception—Bion was slightly the predecessor of Foulkes and those who follow Bion seem to be placed on the other side of some conceptual divide. Perhaps the Bion followers place themselves there, because, unlike Foulkes followers, they pursue a rigorous orthodoxy of views which threatens to be exclusive. In contrast, and perhaps in provocation, group analysis is the polar opposite of exclusive. If anything it is over-inclusive. I am reminded of a description of schism in a group—by Bion actually—

To exaggerate for the sake of clarity, I would say that the one sub-group has large numbers of … individuals who constantly add to their numbers, but who do not develop; the other sub-group develops, but on such a narrow front and with so few recruits that it also avoids the painful bringing together of the new idea and the primitive state (Experiences in Groups, Bion, 1961, p. 128).

Whatever the subsequent fate of their ideas, Bion and Foulkes were almost contemporaries at the legendary Northfield Military Hospital during the Second World War.

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