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Horney, K. (1952). Values and Problems. Am. J. Psychoanal., 12(1):80-81.

(1952). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):80-81

Values and Problems

Karen Horney

Group analysis is not only valuable socially but also for the promise it holds out as a short therapy. It is not only a way of reaching more people but it is a peculiar kind of therapy with problems of its own. These problems are of three kinds: advantages, difficulties and dangers, and limitations.

The advantages one sees most clearly. The group spirit encourages and enhances the incentive to come to grips with oneself. Irrational drives are exposed more readily and quickly. Two illusions are quickly laid open—that the neurotic member is easy to get along with, and that the others don't see in him, or that there do not exist in him, any difficulties. Furthermore, the individual may quickly see that his reactions are determined not by the others, but by what is happening in him. All of this goes on in an atmosphere of feeling “I'm not the only one.” The illusion of being the exceptionally troubled person goes by the board.

There are also difficulties and dangers. New technical problems arise, e.g., the composition of the group. There is the difficulty of evaluating results, of what trends to take up in a varied group. How much is lost? How preserve the continuity? How get everybody participating in the group and prevent some from imposing on the group? What part does the group pressure play on each member? There is the danger merely of behavioristic changes, which may be picked up but not easily contended with. There is the danger of arousing too much anxiety prematurely, with which the person concerned may not be able to cope and may be swept away by it.

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