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Kelman, H. (1952). Some Problems and Promises: Introduction. Am. J. Psychoanal., 12(1):78-78.

(1952). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):78-78

Group Analysis

Some Problems and Promises: Introduction

Harold Kelman

The literature on group therapy is voluminous. Much of it is of limited value because it lacks rigor in definition of concepts and criteria of objectives. It is essential that there be precision in the description of the group constitution as to size and bases for selecting members. It is also important to establish criteria for determining the effectiveness of the group therapist.

We are concerned with a type of group psychoanalysis, conducted by psychiatrists trained in psychoanalysis, utilizing a single comprehensive theory of human nature which is also used in individual analysis. It is a research program having as its first objectives the definition of what group psychoanalysis is, what the group process is, how the group integrates, what the functions of the group conductor are. We cannot ask what the results of a particular method of technique are before we know what it is and how it functions. Pragmatically, group psychoanalysis, as we are defining it, is effecting rational growth. When we know what it is and what it can do, we intelligently can ask and answer what it can and cannot do as compared to individual analysis. Can group analysis accomplish its objectives more or less effectively than individual analysis in the same amount of time at the same financial outlay? Is group analysis the method of choice at certain times for certain people over individual analysis?

With such knowledge available we would not ask the unproductive question, “Is group analysis better than individual analysis or vice versa?” Also, we would not speak of group analysis being a brief or short therapy.

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