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Rosenthal, L. (1971). Some Dynamics of Resistance and Therapeutic Management in Adolescent Group Therapy. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(3):353-366.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(3):353-366

Some Dynamics of Resistance and Therapeutic Management in Adolescent Group Therapy

Leslie Rosenthal

The dynamics of adolescent group therapy have been ably delineated by prominent theoreticians of the group treatment method, notably Slavson,10-11 Spotnitz,12 Redl,7 and Ackerman.1 Slavson, whose pioneering work with children in Activity Group Therapy in the mid-thirties laid the foundation for much of what followed later in group therapy, examined the basic dynamics and processes of analytic group psychotherapy and emphasized the signal importance of selection and grouping. In his exposition of “para-analytic” group psychotherapy with adolescents, Slavson stressed that individuation of approach is essential and cautioned against overstepping the bounds of adolescents' psychologic tolerance. The blending of analytic group psychotherapy with elements of guidance, counselling and teaching has been proposed by Slavson as a cardinal principle in work with adolescents.

Spotnitz identified two basic forces in groups of adolescent girls:

1.   The reproductive constellation—those forces which tended to bring the group together and were represented by their emotional drives for attainment of gratifications associated with being good wives and mothers. This emotional current was operative in the girls' discussions around sexual curiosity, interest in their own bodies, how to get a man, anxieties around pregnancy and increasing freedom to discuss sexual dreams and fantasies—all leading eventually to expressions of hope and confidence that they could do a better job of bringing up their own children than their parents did with them.

2.   The inadequacy constellation.

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