The Significance of Teasing in Group Psychotherapy

  • Harold Behr


Teasing is a piece of behaviour which occurs universally, yet its significance in therapy groups, both as an instrument of therapeutic change and as a potential hazard, is generally underestimated. A two-person model of teasing provides a clear starting point for an examination of what is ultimately a complex, interpersonal and group-determined behaviour. A group concept of teasing includes its cultural and societal aspects, exemplified by the way in which different communities incorporate it in their child rearing practices in order to mould desired character traits, such as warrior-like ferocity or extreme docility and submissiveness. Psychoanalytic viewpoints of teasing as a two-person relationship are given by Brenman (1952) and Sperling (1953) who also examines its cultural and anthropological implications. In this paper I will attempt to link the two-person model of teasing and some of the anthropological observations with its occurrence in small group therapy, and in so doing present a formulation of the function of teasing in the group as a whole.


Adolescent Group Societal Aspect Aggressive Impulse Adolescent Therapy Group Sonal Interaction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Behr
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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