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Reijzer, H. (2001). Taking the Group Seriously. Towards a Post-Foulkesian Group Analytic Theory. Farnad Dalal. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 1998. Pp. 239.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(4):822-824.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(4):822-824

Taking the Group Seriously. Towards a Post-Foulkesian Group Analytic Theory. Farnad Dalal. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 1998. Pp. 239.

Review by:
Hans Reijzer

Translated by:
Philip Slotkin

Group analysis is something that happens in various contexts; or rather, it is a process and a specific school of psychotherapy—or, if you will, of psychoanalysis. As such it is a term with ideological significance. It is not difficult to explain the surface structure involved. A group of about eight patients meets weekly, or sometimes twice weekly, accompanied by an appropriately qualified group analyst, and on each occasion discusses whatever the process throws up. The instructions given are not unlike the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis: absolute discretion about what is discussed in the group must be observed outside and contacts between group members other than in the sessions are taboo. This, of course, applies mainly to groups held outside the setting of a clinic. Clinic-based groups are another matter; they are dealt with neither in the book under review nor in the review itself. Chance plays a major part in the composition of a group, which depends on suitable candidates presenting themselves. Control of a group's composition is directed towards obtaining an appropriate mix of sexes, pathologies and, sometimes, ages. Ideally, a slow open group will include equal numbers of men and women, and when someone leaves, a new patient will eventually join. The processes and realities within the group are analysed; these will concern not only the past but also the present, in the form of transferences on to the therapist, on to the group as a whole and on to other group members.

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