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Riordan, D. (2017). From the couch to the circle. Group-analytic psychotherapy in practice. Psychoanal. Psychother., 31(2):247-248.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 31(2):247-248

Book Reviews

From the couch to the circle. Group-analytic psychotherapy in practice

Review by:
Daniel Riordan

This remarkable single author book is a much awaited and valuable contribution to the group analytic field. Group analytic theory and practice can be difficult to define but this book manages this with aplomb through a robust review of theory coupled with a ‘how to’ manual approach, beautifully delivered through a richly textured smorgasbord of clinical vignettes. It was a humbling and inspiring read.

The book is divided into three parts: foundations, the group-analytic model and the dynamics of change. Section I lays down the foundations of psychotherapy and key concepts and fundamentals of technique. Illustrating the author’s great skill as a teacher, work from esteemed leaders in the field such as Nitsun’s concept of the anti-group (chapter 3, p. 94), is reviewed and defined in an easy to grasp way. Other sections, such as that describing working with the form, content and function of silences (chapter 5, p. 148), illustrate his considerable experience as a clinician. A most welcome chapter in this section is a comparison and critique of the ‘group-analytic’ model and its contemporaries: the Tavistock approach, interpersonal model, psychoanalytic model in the USA and System-Centred Therapy for Groups (SCT).

Section II explores the basics of the group-analytic approach through the key concepts of structure, process and content. The quality of the writing and the aliveness of the clinical examples in this section give the reader a vicarious and rich learning experience.

[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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