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Wolf, A. Kutash, I.L. (1982). Psychoanalytic Group Dynamics: Saul Scheidlinger, Ph. D., International Universities Press, New York, 1980, 315 pp.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 10(4):632-635.

(1982). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 10(4):632-635

Psychoanalytic Group Dynamics: Saul Scheidlinger, Ph. D., International Universities Press, New York, 1980, 315 pp.

Review by:
Alexander Wolf, M.D.

Irwin L. Kutash, Ph.D.

This book consists of ten contributions including some of the most distinguished sources in the field of group dynamics: Bion, Erikson, Ezriel, Foulkes, Saravay, Scheidlinger, Stock (Whitaker) and Whitman. Freud and Redl are cast by Scheidlinger into a group dynamic mold in an attempt to portray them as forerunners of group dynamics and the entire first section of this book is, therefore, misconceived. Freud's “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” is presented in abstract by the editor with the statement that the creator of dyadic psychoanalysis asserted that there was no real dichotomy between individual and group psychology. Scheidlinger thereby perceives Freud as an adherent of group process rather than what he was, an analyst of individuals. This despite Scheidlinger's own statements that both Freud and Redl depicted group behavior as comprising the behavior of individuals in the context of group and that there is no place in their theories for a group mind as distinct from the minds of the individual group members. These statements would lead the reviewers to see Freud as a forerunner of Psychoanalysis in Groups, a technique originated by one of the authors of this review, Alexander Wolf, in 1938, and Redl, as less a group dynamicist than an adherent of “Psychoanalytic Psychology of the Group.” Their work is certainly essential reading, but not so are readings on “Group Dynamics.

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