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Canham, H. Emanuel, L. (2000). ‘Tied Together Feelings’ Group Psychotherapy with Latency Children: The Process of Forming a Cohesive Group. J. Child Psychother., 26(2):281-302.

(2000). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 26(2):281-302

‘Tied Together Feelings’ Group Psychotherapy with Latency Children: The Process of Forming a Cohesive Group

Hamish Canham and Louise Emanuel

In this paper we describe our experience of running a psychoanalytic psychotherapy group for six children, ranging in age from 4-8 years old. The group ran for a year, with sessions held weekly for an hour. The rationale for group work, selection criteria and the treatment setting are discussed. The paper charts the evolution within the children of the concept of an internal ‘work group’ (Bion, 1961), as opposed to a ‘gang’, as their self-awareness and capacity to relate to each other improved. This reflected a corresponding shift in their relationship to the two group leaders, moving from their initial perception of us as neglectful and in conflict with each other, towards recognizing us as a therapist couple who could work together thoughtfully for their benefit. The children's relationship to the group leaders, representing a ‘parental couple’ in the transference, was the focus of much of the work group. The positive outcomes for most of the children, resulting from this treatment, are reported.

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