The Large Group: Dynamics and Therapy

By Lionel Kreeger | Go to book overview

Overview

Malcolm Pines

'Psychiatry must be continuous in theory with neurophysiology on the one side and sociology on the other' ( Stanley Cobb)

Mulling over the chapters of this book as they have been completed has been a heady, exciting experience. Like the reader, I have been exposed to the thoughts of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, to the approaches of sociology and anthropology. The collaboration of these disciplines in this volume is noteworthy above its inevitable partial success or failure. Like most readers, I have not been trained in all of these disciplines though, perhaps unlike many, I believe that the training of the modern psychiatrist and psychotherapist should include them all. The facts of the prevalence of emotional disorder and the limited resources available to meet treatment needs must turn our attention to new approaches to treatment and to training; the large group is coming into focus as a possible location of treatment. Between neurophysiology and sociology there is room to study many types of groups, small and large, as well as the individual.

Observations of crowds, of 'collective behaviour which takes place outside the pale of social institutions', are not part of this study though large-group psychology had its origin in Lebon's work in this field and the fruits of this research have influenced much later work.1 Nor is this the study of a total institution, such as the psychiatric hospital, though again work in this area is relevant to our volume.2 Here we are concerned with an intermediate field overlapped by both these other areas. This is the structured large group, the group meeting, the assembly of comparatively large numbers of persons for the purposes of

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