The psychoanalytic exploration of the dynamics of small groups and their therapeutic utilization is a rich, still significantly unexplored territory. The path-breaking findings of Freud, Bion, Turquet, and Anzieu have been only partially integrated with the mainstream of psychoanalytic thinking. As the contributions to this volume demonstrate, even the fundamental developments in other areas of the psychoanalytic domain brought about by the major contributors to the psychoanalytic studies of group processes have not been fully deployed to develop further the understanding of group processes per se. Psychoanalytic group therapy has already served as an experimental laboratory for psychoanalytic object relations theory concepts, for the exploration of characterpathology and its changes through treatment, and for the study of how individual psychopathology and the unconscious group processes that emerge in the group's interaction impact on each other.
The editors of this book have undertaken an important and challenging task: the study of the mutual influence of the explosive developments in psychoanalytic theory and technique of individual treatment, on the one hand, and on the other, the theoretical and technical innovations in psychoanalytically orientated group psychotherapy. By bringing together leading exponents of various approaches to psychoanalytically orientated group psychotherapy, and encouraging contributors to focus on this central question of the mutual interaction of the two fields, the editors of this book have provided us with a rich and thought-provoking book.
One major danger of trying to integrate various theories is the possibility of creating the appearance of an eclecticism that would do injustice to the competing theoretical models, blur the different concepts, and interfere with raising crucial questions, and with scientific research. This danger has been successfully avoided by the clear differentiation of the various perspectives reflected in the contributions to this book.
Contemporary developments in psychoanalytic technique are