In what follows, John Gordon presciently applies Bion's work on thought disorder to the group setting. Gordon notes, as part of the group regression, the 'attacks on linking' which Bion originally observed in borderline and psychotic states. He illustrates how the members attack the bonds between them (the group matrix) as well as the thought process. Gordon thus achieves an important integration of Foulkes's concept of 'group free association' and Bion's 'K links'.
The abiding influence of Bion's Experiences in Groups (1961), particularly of the concept of basic assumption group, can be gauged by reference to a number of recent contributions to the group psychotherapy literature. Anzieu (1975), Brown (1985), Schermer (1985), Ganzarain (1989) and Karterud (1990) all discuss basic-assumption functioning; and its appearance in groups has been related to a wide spectrum of issues and anxieties: task breakdown or ambiguity; psychopathology in leaders; oedipal and preoedipal, narcissistic and 'psychotic-like' conflicts. Agazarian and Peters (1981) use a modified version of basic assumptions to characterize a fundamental dimension of the 'invisible group', the implied group goal.
The purpose of these representative citations is not to assess or criticize how the authors have understood the concept of basic assumptions but to indicate how frequently it is still applied in discussions of group dynamics and therapy. At the same time, there is a growing awareness that Experiences in Groups was not Bion's last word on the subject (James, 1981; Grinberg, 1985; Ashbach and Schermer, 1987), although of the subsequent work only Attention and Interpretation (1970) merits a listing in the Comprehensive Index of Group Psychotherapy Writings (Lubin and Lubin, 1987).