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Fiumara, R. (1976). Therapeutic Group Analysis and Analytical Psychology. J. Anal. Psychol., 21(1):1-24.

(1976). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 21(1):1-24

Therapeutic Group Analysis and Analytical Psychology

R. Fiumara, M.D.

I. Introduction

EXISTING TEXTS regarding possible clinico-theoretical relationships between analytical psychology and group psychotherapy, though few in number, usually begin by underlining the theoretical difficulties which an analytical psychologist encounters when approaching group therapy.

These difficulties appear to descend directly from the theoretical corpus of Jungian psychology, from Jung's own criticisms of group analysis as, for example, in his correspondence with Illing (ILLING 10), and from Meier in a paper presented at the International Conference of Medical Psychotherapy in 1948 (MEIER 18).

Following Hobson (HOBSON 9) reservations about group psychotherapy can be summarized as:

1.   Group situations which are characterized by:

-    a state of collective uniformity with a loss of individual responsibility and of nuclei of unrepeatable uniqueness;

-    the appearance and maintenance of an undesirable, infantile dependence, characterized by a false sense of security;

-    an increase in suggestibility, with the consequent submission to the leader and to the ideas of the group;

-    the loss of ego defences, which can lead to an uncontrollable invasion of unconscious material (N.B. the expression used by Jung in his correspondence with Illing, ‘the group reinforces the ego’, should be considered only in reference to the temporary feeling of greater security which derives from the increased impressionability of the subject in the group).

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