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Henderson, J.L. (1949). The Practice of Group Therapy: Edited by S. R. Slavson. New York: International Universities Press, 1947. 271 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:101-102.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:101-102

The Practice of Group Therapy: Edited by S. R. Slavson. New York: International Universities Press, 1947. 271 pp.

Review by:
Jesse L. Henderson

This book is largely a compendium of reports of group psychotherapy, well illustrated with case reports. The major contribution comes from S. R. Slavson and his co-workers.

In the first part, on general principles and dynamics, Slavson states that group therapy permits acting-out, that the individual defenses are diminished, that transference is facilitated, and that there is a catalytic effect of other members of the group which speeds the therapeutic process. With children, the group was amorphous until the patients improved, when certain forms of organization and control within the group appeared. When these appear, the patient is considered to be well enough so that he no longer needs therapy. The group must be planned, the patients being of approximately the same social level and having similar symptoms. However, withdrawn and aggressive patients tend to help each other. With children, a permissive attitude is necessary, but neutrality is not to be confused with passivity. The group itself is only a means of activating the therapy of individuals.

'Activity group therapy' has been recently developed for use with children, in which there is a great deal of permissiveness, little attempt to give intellectual insight, and the therapy comes from the interaction of the members of the group plus the opportunity to discharge and organize aggressiveness into something productive. Materials with which to do this are always freely at hand.

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