Restoring the Impaired Self as an Essential Corrective Experience in Group Analysis
In setting up and maintaining the group-analytic situation — the medium in which the therapeutic processes evolve — the selection of the patients who make up such a group is, of course, of the utmost importance. The highest therapeutic potential rests in a group with “the optimal span between polar (personality) types” ··· “a mixed bag of diagnoses and disturbances”. (Foulkes and Anthony 1957). In selecting such a mixed bag, the group-analyst will find himself extra cautious and attentive where, in the diagnostic interview, he comes upon the ego-weak; the patient with a borderline personality organisation (Kernberg 1968); the patient who displays the defensive organisation of an excessively immature self; and he who hides his mutilated self from himself and his world by living with another’s self. The need and greed which emerges from the very start of the therapeutic contact, together with an emptiness in the relationship and extreme communication difficulty — these and the many other so capably and thoroughly investigated and documented phenomena of the narcissistically severely injured (Kohut, Kernberg i.a) militate against inclusion in a group-analytic therapy group of the classical type.
KeywordsTherapeutic Contact Optimal Span High Therapeutic Potential Genuine Feeling Borderline Personality Organisation
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