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Beres, D. (1944). An Introduction to Group Therapy: By S. R. Slavson. (The Commonwealth Fund, New York, 1943. Pp. xvi + 352. Price, $2.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:174.

(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:174

An Introduction to Group Therapy: By S. R. Slavson. (The Commonwealth Fund, New York, 1943. Pp. xvi + 352. Price, $2.00.)

Review by:
David Beres

This book describes the author's extensive experiences in group activities with children presenting a variety of conduct and neurotic disorders. As an exposition of a relatively new approach to the practical problem of working with children, this is a valuable contribution, whether or not one is in agreement with the author's theories and assumptions. This work has been carried on at the Jewish Board of Guardians in New York City since 1934 and the author describes carefully the details of formation of groups, training of workers and psychiatric supervision.

In so far as the purpose of the project was the amelioriation of symptoms in behaviour disorders, one may consider it as a form of treatment, but the author himself points out that the children were at no time made aware of the fact that they were under treatment, nor was any attempt made directly to give them any insight. Rather it appears that we are dealing with a carefully supervised experience in group living carried out by case workers under psychiatric supervision.

Mr. Slavson defines the particular therapy employed in this study as 'activity group therapy', which he states is limited as follows: 'Group therapy, as we employ the term, is treatment in which no discussion is initiated by the therapist; interpretation is given only in very rare instances and under specific conditions. Emotional reorientation comes from the very fact that the child experiences actual situations, lives and works with other children, comes into direct and meaningful interaction with others, and as a result modifies his feeling tones and habitual responses.

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