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Ecker, B.J. (1961). Alienation and the Group Analytic Process. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):273-276.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):273-276

Alienation and the Group Analytic Process

Benjamin J. Ecker, M.D.

We See Alienation in its various degrees and forms as an almost universal malady. The alienated person has moved through his years of development away from what is natural, unique, and inherent in him as a human being, He cannot lead an authentic existence, as the existentialists would say. He cannot be himself; he is not true to himself. He is not in good relatedness either with himself or the people around him. “Relatedness pertains to the quality of any relationship whether interpersonal or intraorganismic. It is a state of being in more or less close relation with one's real or healthy self. It is therefore a positive quality as against alienation, a negative quality. Unhealthy total growth of an individual, which includes personality development, results in decreased relatedness.”

What is the motivating force behind alienation? In growing up there is a desperate need to find and use defenses to maintain oneself in an ever changing world. The growing child experiences the world as ever changing when actually it is he who is changing as he grows from stage to stage of life maturity. Something new, something appropriate to each age level, is expected of him in his journey through life and he must cope with this. The forces that play on the growing individual are both biological and cultural. If there are obstacles or impediments to growth, the child will experience anxiety. This may be consciously perceived in child or adult, or repressed and thus unfelt, except as it emerges dynamically in the form of symptoms or character changes.

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