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(1956). International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. V, 1955: Group Psychotherapy with a Mixed Group of Adolescents. Nathan W. Ackerman. Pp. 249-260.. Psychoanal Q., 25:623.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. V, 1955: Group Psychotherapy with a Mixed Group of Adolescents. Nathan W. Ackerman. Pp. 249-260.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:623

International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. V, 1955: Group Psychotherapy with a Mixed Group of Adolescents. Nathan W. Ackerman. Pp. 249-260.

Adolescents, in their yearning to complete their incomplete selves, are often irritable and especially so when confronted by adolescents of the opposite sex. In therapy groups they are propelled by the physiological processes of maturation, by the demands of the environment, and by their unresolved drives in the conflict with authority. This article summarizes ten years' experience of such therapeutic groups, conducted weekly by the writer and others (often in the presence of informal visitors), of five to eighteen members of both sexes between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three. All types of emotional disturbance except frank psychoses were present in the participants. Patients, when invited to join the group, often projected their aggressive fantasies of ridicule and attack or of exhibitionism (then expected to make a sensational impression). The expectation of sexual gratification and punishment from the individual therapist was now extended to the group. In individual sessions problems roused by the group meeting could be discussed.

A typical meeting starts with tension expressed by the seating arrangements—the sexes separate or paired off—or by the expressions of members as they struggle with their impulses to see and be seen. Problems are usually expressed for consideration of the group in a circumstantial or social way. The therapist's task is to find the actual emotions covered and revealed by the talk. Behavior, especially unpremeditated gestures and expressions, shows the member's image of himself and the conflicts associated with it. The therapist's words help members to attain mutual understanding. They feel relief as the atmosphere of frankness helps them to shed hampering conventions and to build a communal morality of their own. New acceptance of their own personalities and tolerance for the feeling of others is found in this permissive atmosphere.

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Article Citation

(1956). International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. V, 1955. Psychoanal. Q., 25:623

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