J. SCOTT RUTAN
In the practice of psychoanalytic group therapy, tracking
unconscious themes, particularly in the transference, is
central. In one session, for instance, Susie began the group
meeting by saying she had something to say that another
member, Karen, a woman she had often experienced as a
critical mother, would say is a lie. Susie reported that her
biological mother, who gave her up at birth, had reappeared
and was demanding to see her, giving no consideration to the
effect of this development on Susie. Following a short
discussion of this, a second group member, Sandy, tearfully
informed the group that her father had just died, leaving her
with many bills to pay.
The group empathized with Sandy. Soon Barbara, a third
group member, reported a recent encounter with her mother.
Coming away, she felt criticized and demeaned. She then
observed that she had no positive maternal figures nor
girlfriends in her life. She wondered if her difficult
relationship with her mother contributed to this void.
The therapist, tracking these verbalisations, understood
the group to be struggling with the issues relating to negative
parental transference. She heard Barb's observation that
"there were no positive maternal figures in her life" as an
indication that the transference to the group therapist was
also negative. The therapist responded to this comment by
saying "I don't count?!! And it seems like no one here feels she
will get nurturance from caretakers." Several members
nodded, and Barb, smiling, said "I forgot about you."
* Reprinted with permission from Rutan, J. Scott (1993). Psychoanalytic group psychotherapy.
In H.I. Kaplan and B.J. Sadock (Eds.) Comprehensive group psychotherapy (3rd ed., pp.
138-146). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: A Guide to Starting Psychotherapy Groups. Contributors: John R. Price - Author, David R. Hescheles - Author, A. Rae Price - Author. Publisher: Academic Press. Place of publication: San Diego, CA. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 151.
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