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The Group and the Unconscious (1984)
Anzieu, Didier
Routledge / Softcover / 2016-11-01 / 1138801860
reg price: $73.50 our price: $ 62.48 (may be subject to change)
290 pages
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Originally published in 1984, this was the first published account in English of the original and highly interesting development of group psychotherapy in France at the time. Under the leadership of Professor Didier Anzieu, psychoanalysts have actively and ingeniously brought psychoanalytical insights to bear upon group process. These methods have been widely applied in training groups for mental health professionals, as well as in many other organizations. Anzieu and his colleagues have made many advances in understanding the psychology of large-group situations, and these advances will contribute to the growing interest in the field.

The main aim of the book is to examine the unconscious life of the human group. Professor Anzieu describes the processes of fantasy and imagination that are common to social organizations, training groups and psychotherapeutic groups, and extends the psychoanalytical theory about dreams to the group. He gives an account of the various kinds of group fantasies, such as the group illusion, the group as a mouth, breaking apart fantasies, the group-machine, and the self-destructive group. The book is illustrated by ten clinical case studies, which are vividly described by Professor Anzieu. The interaction of the imaginary processes and the social ideas of the group are also studied, and the theoretical discussion in general reflects the interest of French psychoanalysts in the earliest structures of the mind and of the psychotic level of the personality as it becomes manifest in the group process.

Table of Contents

1. On the Psycho-analytic Method and the Rules of its Application in Group Situations 2. The System of Rules in Diagnostic Groups: Structure, Internal Dynamics and Groundwork 3. Analytical Psychodrama and Physical Exercises 4. Psycho-analytic Work in Large Groups 5. Group Phantasies 6. The Analogy of Group and Dream: Wish-fulfilment in Groups 7. The Group Illusion 8. The Group is a Mouth: Oral Phantasies in the Group 9. The Fragmentation Phantasy: Anxieties Aroused by the Group Situation 10. The Phantasy of the Group as a Machine: Persecutive-Seductive Groups 11. Paradoxical Resistance 12. The Group and the Superego 13. Psycho-analytic Group Theory 14. Conclusions. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author:

Anzieu studied philosophy and was a pupil of Daniel Lagache, before undertaking his first psychoanalysis with Jacques Lacan. Then, after discovering that Lacan had also treated his mother ("Aimée"), he began a second analysis with Georges Favez. He retained a deep grudge against Lacan's lack of candor and later also condemned the excesses and arbitrary practices of the Lacanians — highlighting the latter's 'unending dependence on an idol, a logic, or a language', as well as the pervasively tantalizing element in Lacan's approach, with 'fundamental truths to be revealed...but always at some further point'.[1]

Among Anzieu's many significant contributions to psychoanalysis were his work on Freud's self-analysis and his extensive study of groups, relying in particular on the work of Wilfred Ruprecht Bion. Building on the writings of such psychoanalysts as Melanie Klein and Heinz Kohut, Anzieu also sought with great skill to analyze, not so much works of art, but the creative process itself; and he published numerous works on literary creation (Pascal, Beckett) and artistic creation (Bacon)'.[2]

Perhaps the most telling strand in his writings, however, was that of the so-called Skin-Ego, and the related concept of the "Psychic Envelope". (wiki)

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