The Anti-Group: Destructive Forces in the Group and Their Creative Potential

The Anti-Group: Destructive Forces in the Group and Their Creative Potential

The Anti-Group: Destructive Forces in the Group and Their Creative Potential

The Anti-Group: Destructive Forces in the Group and Their Creative Potential

Synopsis

A major conceptual addition to the theory and practice of group psychotherapy, the 'anti-group' comprises the negative elements which threaten to undermine the group. This work provides new perspectives on the nature of group relationships.

Excerpt

Saul Tuttman

Morris Nitsun’s first paper about the anti-group was published in Group Analysis in 1991. That report and this new volume examine anger in group members expressed by the ‘acting out’ of destructive impulses and affects towards the group. I welcome and applaud this new appreciation of the role of aggression and hostility within groups by a British group analyst. In my commentary on Nitsun’s original paper, I referred to the anti-group as an historical and ideological breakthrough. In this book, the concept of the anti-group emerges more fully as an original and important contribution to the overall field of group psychotherapy.

For many years several American group therapists have been concerned about the importance of group members venting aggressive and destructive impulses and affects in group treatment situations. In England and elsewhere, Kleinian psychoanalysts and group therapists, including Wilfred Bion, have expressed similar concerns.

I have admired Foulkes and his English group-analytic colleagues (including James Anthony, Malcolm Pines and Robin Skynner); nonetheless, as the years have gone by, I have become increasingly concerned about what appeared to me to be a neglect of the crucial role of aggression and hostility in the Foulkesian view of the therapeutic group. Unless we identify, experience and acknowledge the role of aggression and destructive forces and feelings at work in groups, we ignore an important part of human relationships and thereby endanger ourselves and limit our capacity to help ‘work through’ crucial issues. I greatly value Nitsun’s determination to do just this.

Nitsun offers perhaps the first systematic critique of the work of S.H. Foulkes, giving due weight to the strengths of the

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