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Semrad, E.V. Day, M. (1966). Group Psychotherapy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 14:591-618.

(1966). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 14:591-618

Group Psychotherapy

Elvin V. Semrad, M.D. and Max Day, M.D.


The books reviewed portray a progression from group psychotherapy to psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy to the first steps in group analysis and application to education, psychology, patient management, and research. Controversies attendant on these movements, differences of opinion ranging from flat rejection to the most critical, are those which stem from the experience of conducting groups based on the orientation and therapeutic formulations of therapists and psychoanalysts in their ever-present effort to formulate the manifest multi-dimensional observations noted in their therapy groups. The philosophy of the analyst will immediately be reflected, not only in his formulations, but in the behavior of the group, essentially based on personal

experiential objects, on technical difficulties, or on a limited point of view. At this stage in the development of our theory this results in groups being regarded as peer, social milieu, or cultural framework groups. The theoretical position of the therapist determines the manner in which he looks upon the nature of the group, the way he conducts it, and his assessment of the best way to work in this relatively new area, which clamors for further study. The works here reviewed fulfill some requirements of procedure in a science. The intimate, habitual, intuitive familiarity with raw processes is abundant. A systematic means of collecting reliable and relevant facts is in process. The clinical observer or practitioner has immersed himself in group process: he "seeks a feel" for it. The detached experimentalist, or systematician, collects his objective data. Closing the gap between the two requires an effective way of thinking about group phenomena (8). The gap itself is bridged when those who posses an intuitive familiarity and a means of gathering objective data attempt to formulate an effective conceptual apparatus to clarify our thinking. The papers collectively represent the struggle that is necessary in order to move from the concrete level toward an effective way of thinking about the phenomena. There has been some progress. Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego is still a basic reference.

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