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Schwartz, E.K. Wolfe, A. (1957). Psychoanalysis in Groups: Three Primary Parameters. Am. Imago, 14(3):281-297.

(1957). American Imago, 14(3):281-297

Psychoanalysis in Groups: Three Primary Parameters

Emanuel K. Schwartz, Ph.D., DSo Sci and Alexander Wolfe, M.D.

We have addressed ourselves for many years to the problem, What is the nature of psychoanalysis in groups (4)? What is group therapy? Much therapy that is done in groups, it seems to us, is not group therapy. Only if the group is used therapeutically does it become group therapy. By using the group therapeutically, however, we do not mean group dynamics which are derived from and applied to groups in vivo or in experimental settings. In such groups the objective is not therapy. Where the function, the raison d'etre of the group is psychoanalytic therapy, group dynamics, which arise in all groups, have some bearing upon an understanding of the group but may not be essential for helping those persons who come exclusively for treatment. The interest for and preoccupation with group dynamics in a therapeutic setting often are a reflection of the therapist's resistances and transferences.

Moreover, we do not think that the group needs to be anthropomorphized. The group has no existence of its own. The group is a consequence of the activity of the individual members of the group. Each group member comes for his own independent personal need for therapy. For a variety of reasons he has accepted, more or less, that in a group setting he can best be helped to resolve his personal problems and find happiness and fulfillment.

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