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Raufman, R. (2019). Taking the Sting Out: Manifesting Aggression and Containing Difficult States in a Relational Group Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Dial., 29(2):197-215.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29(2):197-215

Taking the Sting Out: Manifesting Aggression and Containing Difficult States in a Relational Group Psychotherapy

Ravit Raufman, Ph.D.

This paper describes ways of handling aggression and difficulty in containing intense emotional experiences in group psychotherapy. The clinical vignette illustrates how, in cases of overprotectiveness, an external trigger may sometime serve as a vehicle of liberation and ventilation. The therapist’s enactment in response to the sudden penetration of a wasp into the room is discussed by relating to the functions it serves in the process of encountering aggression, as well as the group and therapist’s capacity to move from “twoness” to a “co-created third.” Whereas aggression, in general, is difficult to deal with, in a group it might prove to be extremely threatening, posing dangers unique to groups. Moreover, openly discussing the group conductor’s aggressiveness is especially challenging in a group. The paper illustrates the fruitful intersection of group analytic thinking and relational psychoanalytic conceptualization.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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