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Sutherland, J.D. (1975). Progress in Group and Family Therapy: Edited by Clifford J. Sager and Helen Singer Kaplan. New York: Brunner/Mazel; London: Butterworth. 1972. Pp. xix + 935.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:111-112.
(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:111-112
Progress in Group and Family Therapy: Edited by Clifford J. Sager and Helen Singer Kaplan. New York: Brunner/Mazel; London: Butterworth. 1972. Pp. xix + 935.
Review by: J. D. Sutherland
The size and weight of this volume, 950 pages and over three and a half pounds, might well deter the reader. The word 'progress' might also raise misgivings if he thinks of the theatrical range of group activities which has boiled up in the United States and which is now erupting around the globe. In fact, it is a bounty for everyone in the mental health field.
The authors present over 50 articles, about half of them from the literature and the others specifically written, to highlight both clinical innovations and the gropings towards filling the conspicuous gaps in a coherent and stimulating theoretical framework. Only one paper is from outside the United States. It originated in the Tavistock Clinic but is a somewhat surprising choice since it is almost entirely derived from a much earlier paper by Ezriel.
Five areas are distinguished: Group Therapy, Family Therapy, Marital and Sexual Problems, Special Patients Population, and Applications and Extensions. Within each area contrasting approaches have been chosen to reflect the apparently chaotic array of methods and theories, and to connect the sections the editors provide perceptive commentaries.
The opening paper by Helen Durkin, one of the most thoughtful writers on group therapy, introduces the cohesive potential that general systems theory brings and without which personality theory and our therapeutic endeavours remain in their present fragmented and stultified condition. On the Encounter Group scene Parloff remarks that 'There seems to be an escalation in the race among technique innovators to invent procedures which are stimulating, exciting, and, above all, different.
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