Group Analytical Therapy
Group analysis is a theoretical and practical approach which deals with understanding groups and society, and the individual in the group and in society. Its sources are found in the psychoanalytic approach, but it is innovative in its harmonious integration of other approaches such as systems theory, developmental psychology, family therapy and social theories.
Psychoanalytic perspective and a broad understanding of social and inter-personal factors combine to form a solid base for the development of the individual and his community. Group analysis may be applied as in organizational counseling, education, supervision and professional training, social services and group psychotherapy.
The founder of the approach – and one of its first users – was S.H. Foulkes, who was the first Chairman of the British Society for Group Analysis during the 1960’s and the 1970’s. The aim of Foulkes and his colleagues was to enable therapy, change and development, in a framework as close as possible to everyday life, while also offering analytic training in group psychotherapy to people who choose to work in this field.
Group Analytical Therapy
Group Analytical Therapy is a method in group psychotherapy, carried out in a group with a regular framework of time, place, conductor and participants. The group generally meets once a week for one-and-a-half hours with a small number of participants (4-9) and one conductor. The group is open to new participants and also allows for departures of participants who have achieved their goals and feel they have reached a plateau in their personal process. The length of therapy varies according to individual needs. The common length of therapy is from one to three years. During group sessions, any subject that preoccupies the participants may be brought up for discussion.
Group Analytical Therapy is intended for those who wish to grow, build an identity, expand their awareness, improve interpersonal communication, realize their personal abilities and fulfill themselves to the utmost. The group is a resource for healing, growth and change.
Group Analytical Therapy strives to improve the communication of each individual with himself and with others, stresses the deciphering of subconscious processes in relationships and their effect on the behavior and coping of people with the tasks of their personal and social lives. The feeling of belonging that evolves over the course of time allows for a significant encounter, which feels safe and enables learning to take place.
Group Analytical Therapy is intended to enable intensive and deep work, with the aim of creating an encounter for each of the patients with his inner world and with the way this world reflects his contacts with others. Group Analytical Therapy allows people participating in it to enter the “hall of mirrors”, to observe themselves through the other participants, while the group serves as a reflection of the personal psyche and vice versa. This is the same reflection in which an experiencing individual feels the need to know and be known by others who are similar to him, and at the same time to be different and unique.
In the Analytic Group image and background interchange; at times the individual, with his personal agenda and special needs, is in focus, while the group serves as background and context. At other times, the entire group is in focus, representing the social network and community in which the individual exists in the real world.
The Group Conductor of the Analytic Group Therapy is a therapist who was trained in the Institute of Group Analysis. The conductor enables the development of the group analytic process. Like the conductor of an orchestra, he/she creates the group, setting its time and space boundaries and its human make-up. He/She allows space for each instrument, each individual. He/She facilitates self-reflection by each participant within his/her private world and soul and reflection on the external relationships he or she establishes in the group. The ability of the conductor to integrate the view of the group with his/her understanding of human character, as in the interchangeability of image and background, enables the kind of therapy envisioned by Foulkes: “Analysis of the individual and group, by the group, including the conductor.”