THE CONDUCTOR'S CONTRIBUTION
Some Definitions first. -- In a group composed of patients and meeting for the purpose of treatment, the Therapist is normally in the position of its Leader. The term "Leader" has, however, become overloaded with meaning and particularly with fascist connotations. I will, for our purposes, therefore replace it by the less pretentious term of Conductor. The terms "leader" and "leading" will be used to express active and manifest exertion of influence upon the group, based upon the Therapist's exceptional position within it. For the more indirect, although deliberate, steering of the group, we will reserve the term "directing." Directing can be active, too, but is most of the time in the nature of a catalytic action.
Thus a Conductor may or may not lead the group. The guiding principle for him is always the therapeutic function. In the best interests of this function he has sometimes to assume the role of a leader. Most of the time, according to our opinion, his therapeutic function is the better served the more he refrains from leading and, indeed, it is essential that he should not identify the task of conducting the group with that of leading it. At the same time, however, the Conductor must, in his function of Therapist, at any moment be in a position of assuming leadership of his group, as long as anyone in this group is in need of treatment. As soon as the treatment process has come to an end this is different. The Conductor then ceases to be a leader, but he has also no further function as a Therapist within this group. As these statements might appear confusing, I will sum up quite simply: Whereas the Group Analyst remains the Conductor of the group throughout, and therefore also its Leader, he only exceptionally assumes actual leadership of the group.
For example: a group of ex-P.O.W's did so well that I encouraged them to carry on without me, while I was on leave.