Ring of Fire: Primitive Affects and Object Relations in Group Psychotherapy

By Victor L. Schermer; Malcolm Pines | Go to book overview

11

Glacial times in psychotic regression

Salomon Resnik


EDITORS' INTRODUCTION

As is suggested by the title's transformation of the 'fire' motif into its 'glacial' opposite, Salomon Resnik's work exemplifies with clinical sensitivity the Freudian and Kleinian emphasis on unconscious phantasy in the life of the individual and the group. Influenced by intellectual currents in France emphasizing a 'return to Freud', Resnik goes back to the 'master' for rich insights into mental and group processes. Yet there is a contemporary flavour to this chapter which derives in part from Resnik's application of Bion's writings, evident in the author's astute understanding of the group-as-a-whole and the sophisticated use of Bion's concepts in comprehending the fragmentation of the psychotic's inner life.

Many group therapists will find Resnik's contribution controversial. They will be concerned that he is treating psychotic patients using a depth psychological approach, in contrast to the current stress on psychoactive medications and group/milieu caregiving and structure. It is important, however, to note Resnik's sensitive attunement to the ego states and transference of the patients. Remember, too, that Resnik conducted this group in an inpatient setting with staff and team supports.

The in-depth interpretation of unconscious phantasy is in some danger of becoming a lost art within group psychotherapy. In this chapter, the reader can look forward to discovering the work of one of the true artists of depth interpretation. Judiciously used and properly attuned to the patients' needs, the grasp of the phantasy life and of internalized object relations is a powerful group therapy tool.

Emptiness, silence, heat, whiteness, wait, the light goes down, all grows dark together, ground, wall, vault, bodies, say twenty seconds, all the greys, the light goes out, all vanished. At the same time the temperature

-275-

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