Exhibitionism in Group Psychotherapy
As a self-psychologically oriented psychotherapist, I currently lead a coeducational therapy group for high functioning adults, ages 25 to 50, that has been operating continuously for 15 years. The members of the group usually stay in the group for several years and are either in individual treatment with me concurrently or have terminated individual treatment with me, or are in concurrent individual treatment with a close colleague. I have found self psychological understanding to be invaluable in analyzing what occurs in the group and what appears to be curative. Mirroring, idealizing, and alterego transferences manifest in group therapy as well as individual therapy, and both modalities done concurrently benefit many patients (Weinstein, 1987). I would first like to review briefly a few theoretical premises, and then share an extraordinary event that occurred last year in our group, and to analyze the event from a self psychological perspective, specifically focusing on the grandiose, exhibitionistic line of development.