Group Analysis in the Land of Milk and Honey

Views: 48
Ratings: (0)

Group Analysis in the Land of Milk and Honey is a collection of beautifully written clinical essays by group analysts in Israel - a society which suffers from chronic war and violence. Israeli group conductors share their experience and their special skills concerning the reflection of terror and existential anxiety in their group-analytic therapy groups. The topics range from the influence of society on the individual, the nature of the "group", combined individual and group therapy, groups with mentally ill and elderly patients, and coping with aggressive patients and the self-destructive processes that are ubiquitous in a society threatened with extinction. These group analysts discuss breaking of boundaries, "democracy in action", leadership, paternalism and fanatic identifications. The special place of Shoah survivors and of Arab and Jewish conflict make this book unique. The book conveys both the trauma and the creativity of Israeli society. The editors, Dr Robi Friedman and Yael Doron, represent different generations within the IIGA - the Israeli Institute of Group Analysis. They have edited a mesmerizing testimony to a vibrant society whose citizens are often in pain.

List price: $24.99

Your Price: $19.99

You Save: 20%

 

21 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Chapter One - The “Ethical Envelope” of the Analytic Group: Some Thoughts about Democratic Values Implicit in Group Analysis

ePub

Miriam Berger

In this chapter, I present some reflections on the democratic values implicit in group analysis and in its clinical praxis. They can be envisioned as a kind of collective holding, cloak wrapped around the group, which I define as an “ethical envelope”. It represents an ethical covenant between group members and relates to basic human concerns such as reciprocity, justice, fairness, and caring. It transcends any given personal or social qualities and is woven into the matrix of the group analytic culture, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The presence of such an envelope is implicit in Foulkes’ writing and in the way he perceives maturity, mental health, neurosis, and cure. It is sometimes conveyed indirectly through some ideas such as the group circle or the importance of the capacity for communication. However, a closer reading is required in order to understand that his approach is, indeed, grounded in a democratic worldview.

I suggest that acknowledging explicitly the values that are implicit in the “ethical envelope” can be curative; it deepens the therapists’ understanding and enhances their emphatic capacities.

 

Chapter Two - What is the “Group Entity” in Group Analysis?

ePub

Avi Berman

“…the group uses its own resources…The members of the group…are engaged actively in the therapeutic process and they are not merely ‘recipients’ of treatment as they so very much wish to be”

(Foulkes & Anthony, 2003, p. 82)

A few years ago, I was invited to supervise group therapists in a large public clinic. All the group therapists were also dedicated and experienced individual therapists, as is customary in these clinics. I soon discovered that the groups were relatively small, and, despite an abundance of patients and long waiting lists, the groups were diminishing. I realised that the patients in groups at this clinic had expressed dissatisfaction, and often requested individual therapy rather than group therapy.

In the supervision group, we were trying to decipher the reason for this. The group therapists told the supervision group what had taken place in the group meetings, and then we found time for a reverie of personal associations of the other supervision group members (Berman et al., 2000). The patients in these groups were generally hardworking people, exhausted from life crises and long struggle. Some of them came from poor families and continued to experience poverty and economic and existential anxiety in the families which they built. There were men who could not bear the burden any more, so it was carried by the women instead. There were women who had to bear the consequences of their neglected and now grown children, after years of over-working away from home. Most of them needed medical help. For some of them, the group was designed to help avoid further hospitalisations due to brief psychotic episodes.

 

Chapter Three - Leader, Society, Sacrifice

ePub

Hanni Biran

The point of departure for this chapter is the myth of Oedipus, as it is portrayed in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. The established notions regarding this myth were overturned by Bion (1967, p. 86), who marginalised the theme of incest and focused on the desire to know, investigate, and reveal the truth. Following Bion, I attempt to describe different kinds of knowing, offering my conjectures regarding the type of knowing that a leader must practise in order to be able to handle a traumatic social situation, which demands endless sacrifice. “Knowing” and “knowledge” have multiple unconscious meanings, especially associated with eating from the tree of knowledge.

I also draw on some of the work of Foulkes (1984) regarding the concept of the “foundation matrix”, which refers to relationships, values and norms, and patterns of communication. The foundation matrix establishes the conditions for the development of particular styles of leadership (Hopper, 2003). Group analysis helps us to find several pathways into unconscious processes within groups and persons. In the analytic group, members tend to re-enact their Oedipal drama in the here and now. Through the dynamic matrix of the group, the members come face to face with what has been their manner of being within their respective families and, subsequently, other groups throughout their lives. They discover how they were born into each family and what kind of welcome they received. The analytic group provides a space wherein one can experience the tension between siblings and members of the same and opposite sexes, and, through relationships with the group conductor, their previous relationships with their parents. In other words, the group facilitates the recreation of the Oedipal drama and how it has been played out throughout their lives.

 

Chapter Four - Beyond Oedipus in Group Analysis: The Sacrifice of Boys in the Social Unconscious of the Israeli People

ePub

Joshua Lavie

What do our children want? How do we know how to respond to their needs and desires? How can we distinguish between their need for our love, and their competition with us? How can we know if our sons begin to develop a special and exclusive relationship—a romance—with their mothers, and to distance themselves from their fathers? How can we know when our daughters distance themselves from their mothers—the “queen” of the family—and become their fathers’ “one and only princess”? Are they jealous of us? And finally, the question: are these social psychological situations the result of fate? Are they hereditary and rooted in our DNA? Or—and a “big OR”—are we dealing with a completely different story?

What if the same questions could be reversed? What does it mean that our perspective only focuses on the children? Much has been written about Oedipus, but what if we look at him through the lens of his parents’ feelings, their urges and anxieties? Is his blindness a punishment for murdering his father, for incest with his mother and for fathering her children? Is there not another kind of blindness here? Is it not the blindness of the parents, who, like Laius and Jocasta, abandoned Oedipus the baby, and mutilated him at the beginning of the play? Is this blindness related to the sacrifice of boys1 on the altar of power struggles, and fights for control between various nationalities and religions, and between contradicting beliefs?

 

Chapter Five - The Group Analysis of the Akeda: The Worst and the Best Feelings in the Matrix

ePub

Robi Friedman

Introduction

Trying to identify and describe the worst and best social processes and feelings that a group can elicit has implications for group analytic therapy. A well-known story from the Bible, which has troubled the minds and hearts of every generation, is used as an example of the worst. Isaac's binding, the Akeda, viewed from a group analytic perspective, provides a further step in understanding the complex dynamics of scapegoating. The best feelings that can be generated from within a group are also discussed.

The worst

According to Genesis, at a location not too far from where I am writing, a small group started a secret and lethal mission.1 Abraham was bringing his son Isaac to Mount Moriah, with the intention of sacrificing him to God. Certainly a great man, Abraham was as close to God as anyone has ever been. God had said to him, “Take your son, your only son that you love, and sacrifice him…”

 

Chapter Six - The Black Hole in the Social Unconscious: A Collective Defence Against Shared Fears of Annihilation

ePub

Yael Doron

In this chapter, I discuss the concept of the social unconscious in group analysis. I focus on the “black hole” as a collective or social defence against extremely painful shared anxieties. I illustrate the use of the collective black hole with data from a group analytic group.

The social unconscious

The concept of the “unconscious” constitutes one of the cornerstones of psychoanalytic theory. According to the Language of Psychoanalysis (Laplanche & Pontalis, 1967, p. 381), “If one wished to summarize the Freudian discovery in one word, it would undoubtedly be that of the unconscious”. Although Foulkes (1948), the founder of group analysis, was a Freudian psychoanalyst, he introduced the concept of the social unconscious in order to stress the importance of sociality and socialisation in the life of persons and groups. In the context of field theory (Lewin, 1951), the social unconscious came to include notions of relationality, transpersonality, transgenerationality, and collectivity (Hopper & Weinberg, 2016). Moreover, as Foulkes shifted from the “collective mind” to the “foundation matrix” and the “dynamic matrix”, the theory of group analysis began to function as a bridge between sociology and contemporary psychoanalysis (Hopper, 2009), and the conceptualisation of the social unconscious became central to the basic theory of group analysis (Hopper, 2011).

 

Chapter Seven - The Immune System and Group Analysis: Communication between “Self” and “Non-Self”

ePub

Nurit Goren

“Between the body of birth,
the body of present
and the haste of its wanderings,
the body of death is present”

(Lider, 2005, translated for this edition)

Introduction

This chapter compares certain aspects of the work of one of my analytic groups to the biological immune system that operates in our bodies. Concepts of mechanisms from immunology are used to examine the communication within the group and the ways of maintaining the dialectical destructive and creative forces in it. The tension between the group's “immunity” and its dealing with “foreign invaders” and “self-destruction” presents the group and its conductor with complex challenges to their clinical work.

About the immune system

We live in a world filled with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and mould, which are found in the air, water, soil, and in all the organisms that surround us. Most of the time we live in harmony with them, but sometimes some of them invade our tissues and cells. If they are not confronted, they are likely to generate serious injuries or even kill. None the less, given their large numbers, it is surprising that we are affected by only a small number of diseases which can be traced to these invaders. Most people are equipped with a sophisticated and effective system, which operates around the clock and ensures our good health: the immune system (Ackerman, 1986).

 

Chapter Eight - The Group “Not-Me”

ePub

Ilana Laor

Introduction

In the year 2003, I completed a four-year training programme in group analysis. As part of the programme, I conducted analytic group therapy with one group which consisted of seven participants over a period of three years. This period coincided with many serious terrorist attacks that took place on the streets and buses of Tel Aviv, often killing innocent civilians.

At the end of this programme, I wrote a final paper to fulfil the requirements for the diploma granted at the end. The paper dealt mainly with destruction and development in group analysis. It is only now—reflecting upon the experience in order to write the current chapter—that I realise that all the terrible events that occurred outside the therapy room at the time were not brought up by any of the participants. Neither did I refer to these events explicitly during the group sessions, although I do recall fleeting thoughts regarding the absence of this topic. Interestingly, I also did not refer to any of these events in my final paper. In retrospect, I believe that the participants and I did not bring up the events in the real world due to the unbearable emotions that they evoked and an unconscious fear of the group's disintegration.

 

Chapter Nine - On Arrivals and Departures in Slow-Open Group Analytic Groups

ePub

Marit Joffe Milstein

In this chapter, I focus on the joining and leaving of participants in a group analytic group during the course of their therapy, and on the challenges that these processes present to the group and the group analyst. Slow-open groups are not time limited and allow individuals to join and leave the group during the process according to their needs. Arrivals and departures are terms that can be understood in the context of the Foulkesian concept of “traffic” (Foulkes, 1975, p. 253).

Foulkes argues that the timing of a new member's arrival is crucial, since it can be experienced as a catastrophic interference if the group is in crisis, or as a reviving action when the group is at a point of lack of relatedness and movement. “In certain families, difficulties are sometimes resolved by ‘getting a new child’…It is important before such events are contemplated that the group motivation is fully explored” (Foulkes & Anthony, 1964, p. 137).

When a patient arrives and/or departs, she has an experience that is at once both new and familiar. The opportunity to understand her arrival in the group over and over again through the hall of mirrors effect in connection with the arrivals of new members of the group, as well as the possibility of preparing herself for her own departure by watching others leave the group before her, is unique to the slow-open group, and simulates a situation that is similar to everyday life. In every arrival and departure, patients have the opportunity to experience themselves anew and from different angles, and to get to know their various reactions. A slow-open group does justice to the patient's needs by allowing her to finish her work in the group, and depart from it when she believes that she has completed her work in the group.

 

Chapter Ten - The Group, the Boundaries, and Between

ePub

Hagit Zohn

“Almost all the non-Jews live in boxes called England, France and Russia. These boxes protect them. Jews do not have a box, and if they do it is a fluid box, which might collapse on them in times of crisis: the Jew lives in space, it makes him proud, sensitive and cautious. It makes him not take anything for granted, he knows that the disaster is just around the corner”

(Warburg, 1936, in Handelsalz, 2004).

Introduction

For us, Jews of Israel, it seems as if many things have changed since these comments were made, yet our mentality has not changed at all. We live in a unique and distinctive “box”, a well-fortified stronghold on the outside, filled with internal disputes and a strong sense of existential anxiety on the inside.

Yehoshua (2002) wrote, “If I had to define Zionism in only one word, I would choose the word boundaries”. Awareness of boundaries, the reality of boundaries, is the basis of our existence. It appears that the boundary is an object of desire for we Israelis. It represents and defines sovereignty, independence, and security, on the one hand, and prohibition, restriction, and the urge to cross it, on the other.

 

Chapter Eleven - Combined Therapy as a Clinical Tool: Special Focus on Difficult Patients

ePub

Pnina Rappoport

Combined therapy is a clinical modality in which individual therapy is combined with group therapy. There are two basic forms of combined therapy:

1.One therapist treats the patient in both individual therapy and in group therapy;

2.Two therapists combine their treatment, one as the individual therapist and the other as the group therapist. This kind of treatment is known as conjoined therapy.

For the past fifty years, combined therapy has attracted a great deal of attention both in Israel and worldwide (Alonso & Rutan, 1982, 1990; Bernard & Drob, 1985; Caligor et al., 1993; Ormont & Stream, 1978). In 2007, a volume of Group was devoted entirely to articles about combined therapy (Ezquerro & Bajaj, 2007).

Many therapists see in combined therapy an optimal tool for providing a comprehensive picture of the patient's personality, since it enables the therapist to see the patient in multi-faceted life situations: individual, familial, social, and cultural. However, other therapists oppose combined therapy completely. They claim that it is only possible to provide optimal treatment in a group context and often cite Foulkes’ claim that “by and large, the group situation would appear to be the most powerful therapeutic agency known to us” (Foulkes, 1964, p. 76).

 

Chapter Twelve - “Is There Hope for Change at my Age?”

ePub

Bracha Hadar

My patients often ask me this question, regardless of age. It becomes more fundamental when the patient is over sixty years old.

In this chapter, I talk about my group analytic group, started in 2010 for people over sixty. This group is the backdrop for the unfolding story of Azi, my eldest patient, who joined the group, aged eighty-five and left it aged eighty-seven, when he felt that he had finished his process.

Azi's history was very much connected to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The significance that Erikson (1964), de Maré (1985), and others give to the historical–social forces which influence individual development, adds further understanding to the formative years of Azi's life.

The title of this chapter—“Is there hope for change…?”—is very relevant to my feelings about Israel at the moment. At the time of writing, it is August 2014, the war in Gaza continues, and is felt by many Israelis, including me, to be a deep national and personal crisis, which evokes similar feelings to those experienced during the Yom Kippur War. I am struck by the question—is there hope for real change in the Middle East?

 

Chapter Thirteen - “I Still Want to be Relevant”: On Placing an Older Person in an Analytic Therapy Group with Younger People

ePub

Eric Moss

“And when old words die out on the tongue, new Melodies break forth from the heart; and where the Old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders”

(Tagore, 2013)

Introduction

There are those who argue on behalf of homogeneous groups, saying that members feel more comfortable opening up among other people like themselves, with similar emotional and functional problems, for example, over-eaters, drug addicts, bereaved spouses, etc. There are others who argue the opposite: that a heterogeneous therapy group more accurately reflects the composition of the society in which individual members must function. A heterogeneous group composition also offers a wider matrix of transferential relationships that can be analysed to the benefit of its members.

This debate can be related to age-related issues of the group composition. Specifically, it is relevant to ask, can older people benefit and contribute to other, younger members in an analytic therapy group? It is not so usual to place older people in such a group owing to myriad reasons, including cultural bias, the notion that older people cannot change and traces of Freud's original focus on the central importance of childhood experiences. And yet Foulkes, the founder of group analytic therapy, argued on behalf of placing people of different ages in a therapy group. He wrote that a mixed age group can greatly add to transferential reactions in both directions, that is, the older person for the younger and vice versa.

 

Chapter Fourteen - The Patient, the Group, and the Conductor Coping with Subtle Aggression in an Analytic Group

ePub

Rachel A. Chejanovsky

Introduction

I have been prompted to write this chapter by my recent experience with aggression in my analytic therapy group. I am concerned with a subtle form of aggression, one that is almost silent. In some ways, it cannot be seen, and is as quiet as a lullaby, but as insidious as drops of water slowly wearing away a stone. This form of aggression can occur every day, and it can have serious consequences for personal development. Some patients are unaware that they have suffered, or are suffering, from such aggression, as though they learnt long ago to accept it as an ongoing fact of their life, which they accommodated and even took for granted, as “given” (Hopper & Weinberg, 2011, p. xxxv). Their experience of aggression was often accompanied by feelings of guilt or shame. For example, a woman who was born into a family characterised by continuing aggression towards her told the group, “My mother had a hard time giving birth to me; I was a difficult child.” On hearing this, I thought, “What kind of mother would blame her child for a difficult birth?” In my eyes, this was an example of extraordinary, but unrecognised, aggression.

 

Chapter Fifteen - Foreigner in your Motherland, Foreigner in your Chosen Homeland: Jewish Cultural Identity

ePub

Suzi Shoshani

One purpose of this chapter is to illustrate processes of equivalence (Hopper, 2003) with respect to the unconscious meanings of immigration. Such meanings range from personal experiences (growing up in a country feeling that this is not a homeland but only a temporary place of residence) to the experiences of the Jewish people during their entire history with respect to being uprooted and having to make new beginnings in new lands. Therefore, the group analyst in the Israeli context must always be sensitive to a large range of meanings in understanding clinical experiences in groups (de Maré, 1991), both personal and contextual processes.

Man is born into a culture. He carries within him the human cultural heritage. The historical foundations of the human race, like the Holy Scripture, the myths, the common legends and stories that accompany past events, which man absorbs from birth, all contain cultural symbols. Some of them are passed unconsciously and some of them are acquired during man's development. Thus, issues of belonging to different national cultures are central, affect our personality, and shape our identity, consciously or unconsciously. We are meeting and dealing with them in group analysis.

 

Chapter Sixteen - Group Analysis goes to Academia: Therapeutic Approach and Professional Identity in Graduate Studies of Psychology

ePub

Shulamit Geller and Eran Shadach

As we wrote this chapter, we found ourselves responding both to its theoretical aspects and, to a significant degree, to its personal and emotional aspects. On one such occasion, during conversation, we each experienced a surge of early memories.

Shulamit: Once, when I was five years old, I met my parents returning from the cinema. I asked them how the film was, to which they answered that they had not understood a thing. I asked, with natural astonishment, “Why, was there no translation [Hebrew subtitles]?” Their response was a burst of laughter, yet no one offered to explain why my question had been so funny. In my family, in the post-Holocaust 1960s, the act of entering a room full of adults talking—even laughing—and discussing matters I was fully aware I was not supposed to know, using a language I was unable to understand, was a very palpable experience. I recall my huge curiosity and determination to understand, along with a fear of what I might discover. Much later, during my group analysis training, I was excited to discover that these were coded messages that were now given validation by the group members and conductor. I felt as though I had found a “dictionary” which could be used to translate and observe my own self and my parents, and to find my bearings in a territory that had, hitherto, remained sealed.

 

Chapter Seventeen - Working with a Multi-Cultural Group in Times of War: Three Metaphors of Motion and Mobility

ePub

Ravit Raufman and Haim Weinberg

When Ludo, the protagonist of Romain Gary's novel Kites (Les Cerfs-volants, published in 1980) was asked to describe in one single word what characterises grace, he recalled his Polish lover named Lila. “I thought of my little Polish, her neck, her arms, her flickering hair, and I answered without hesitation: the movement.” This quotation from Gary's masterpiece novel illustrates one central idea of psychoanalysis, that the foundation of life and mental health is related to the experience of being in motion. While object relations theories emphasise motion and mobility in the individual's psyche, group analysis theories emphasise these processes within the group space.

In this chapter, we discuss three metaphors of motion/lack of motion, manifested in a multi-cultural group in Israel during wartime. Themes from the Israeli social unconscious (Hopper & Weinberg, 2011) resonated with the complex and challenging climate in which the group took place. Each group was held within the framework of a training programme for group facilitators at an Israeli university. The group processes were accelerated due to two events occurring a year and a half apart: the first was the military operation in Gaza in 2012. The second occurred in 2014, with the death of the Israeli former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. We also describe a bi-national group, which started a few days after the opening of the second operation in the Gaza strip during the summer of 2014. These events triggered experiences associated with three metaphors of motion and mobility: moving in and out, moving up and down, and whether or not to be in motion. Although these images of movement and motion have sexual connotations, we focus here on their more general connotations. Fundamentally, being in motion is being alive. Total absence of movement equals death.

 

Chapter Eighteen - Co-Constructing a Common Language: Aspects of Group Supervision for the Multi-Disciplinary Staff of a Psychiatric Ward

ePub

Ido Peleg

The ward as a matrix

Group analytic thinking believes that, at his core, man is a social being. He needs a group and a feeling of belonging in order to exist and to develop. The experience of isolation is the basis of emotional difficulties. In order for the group to include otherwise isolated individuals, it is necessary to expand the group's common zone of communication and its ability to tolerate diversity (Foulkes & Anthony, 1965).

Improving the capacity to relate to others and feel supported by them is central to group therapy with psychotic patients, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This also applies to groups that combine psycho-educational and behavioural elements in their work (Cook et al., 2014; Deering, 2014; Kanas, 1999; Urlic, 1999). Skolnick (1999) writes that he has

tried to make the case that an understanding of group dynamics, enabling the psychotic to rejoin the group as an emotionally alive contributing person rather than an objectified thing to be repaired, is essential to all meaningful treatment. (1999, p. 79)

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub (DRM)
Encrypted
true
Sku
9781781817223
Isbn
9781781817223
File size
0 Bytes
Printing
Disabled
Copying
Disabled
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata