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Kreeger, L. (1986). Bion and Group Psychotherapy: Edited by Malcolm Pines. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1985. Pp. 397.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 13:111-113.

(1986). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 13:111-113

Bion and Group Psychotherapy: Edited by Malcolm Pines. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1985. Pp. 397.

Review by:
Lionel Kreeger

In his editorial introduction to this collection of seventeen essays celebrating Wilfred Bion's work with groups, Malcolm Pines states that 'All the contributors were invited to write about the influence of Bion's personality and ideas on their own work, and to reappraise their ideas critically from their present standpoints… Their splendid responses indicate the affection and esteem with which Bion inspired all those who had contact with him personally or intellectually'.

This latest addition to the series of publications under the title International Library of Group Psychotherapy and Group Process is a major contribution to the group literature, but also expands our understanding of Bion's psychoanalytic thinking. It will be of great interest not only to those who actively participate in group work, but also to psychoanalysts who are concerned with the wider implications of context in their theoretical and technical considerations.

It divides roughly into three main sections: 'the group decade' of the war years, with several accounts of Northfield and Bion's part in those experiments; the post-war years at the Tavistock Clinic and Institute, with the development of basic assumption theory, and its contribution to the Tavistock approach to group psychotherapy; and the last section devoted to context and the widening application of recent developments of Bion's observations and theories.

In the first section there are several excellent accounts of Bion's involvement with war-time psychiatry, particularly that of Eric Trist, who blends the factual and personal elements of their long-lasting relationship beautifully.

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