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Schachter, J. (1991). Object Relations, the Self, and the Group: A Conceptual Paradigm: By Charles Ashbach and Victor L. Schermer. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986, xiii + 313 pp., $55.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:828-831.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:828-831

Object Relations, the Self, and the Group: A Conceptual Paradigm: By Charles Ashbach and Victor L. Schermer. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986, xiii + 313 pp., $55.00.

Review by:
Joseph Schachter, M.D.

This is a serious, thoughtful, and scholarly treatise which is unlikely to be read by American psychoanalysts who have stoutly maintained their resistance to interest in group psychotherapy. For those with such an interest, especially those engaged in teaching group psychotherapy, it is a valuable text with its 350 references from Abraham, K. to Zukav, G.

Parenthetically, although the comprehensive literature review is one of the strengths of this book, it is puzzling that in their evaluation of M. Klein's elaborate infantile fantasies two of the preeminent investigators of infant development from a psychoanalytic point of view, D. Stern and R. N. Emde, are never mentioned.

The goal is to combine object relations theory with drive theory into an integrated theory of psychoanalytic group psychotherapy using a systems theory model. They propose a three-dimensional groupanalytic grid (pp. 132–177) which includes three systems (intrapsychic, interactive, and group-qua-group), six developmental lines (comprehensive views of object relations and the self, affects/defenses, fantasy, identification and externalization processes, cognitive mastery, and boundaries and structure) and six group-developmental levels (from the primordial group to the self-actualizing group). Application of the grid is not very fully elaborated, although an illustration is provided.

Little attempt is made to tie the grid to clinical material. There are only 12 clinical vignettes, each less than one page.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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