Introduction to Group-Analytic Psychotherapy: Studies in the Social Integration of Individuals and Groups

By S. H. Foulkes | Go to book overview
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PART III
THE GROUP-ANALYTIC SITUATION

"All the business of War and, indeed, all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don't know by what you do." -- WELLINGTON.

As has been stated, the group-analytic situation cannot be standardised, but it is quite clearly defined. It must not ever be standardised, because it is not ever watertight apart from the setting surrounding it, of which it forms a part, as indicated in our diagram. It should be allowed to be modified by this surrounding field. In the midst of a session at Northfield, for example, we discovered that it coincided with an inter-hospital football match, " England v Scotland," and that the interest of the Group was in that event. We adjourned at once and went to the football ground. Obviously, this was the best move for all of us at that moment and in that situation, and the best contribution we could make to the hospital as a whole. But this could not happen in an out-patient clinic in London and one would not interrupt a session in order to go to Regent's Park or the zoo, even if the whole Group was interested in the arrival of a new panda. This is why we talk of essential features of the situation and of principles of conduct rather than of fixed standards and technical rules.

Numbers . -- The first and most essential step for a Group if it is to form, is that it should meet. For the purpose of such highly intimate work as Group Analysis numbers cannot be large. Leaving the Therapist apart, three people can work together, but for a group to be at all representative a minimum of five is required. One can operate quite well with ten or even twelve, but it is doubtful if one can do justice to each individual, if he

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