chapter  Five
14 Pages

Schizophrenia from a group perspective

ByMarvin Skolnick

The schizophrenic disorder has as one of its most prominent features the estrangement of the inner world of the self from the social world of others. The author summarizes some of the crucial factors in developing and sustaining a community that works for schizophrenics. W. R. Bion noted the power and ubiquitous nature of psychotic anxiety and the integral part it plays in stimulating the development of group basic assumptions. In Bion's formulations, the basic assumptions defend the collective against direct encounter with the primitive psychotic process latent in human relations. I. E. P. Menzies using Bion's formulations showed how the administration of a teaching hospital treating terminally ill patients impelled by basic-assumption dynamics as defence against annihilation anxiety. The author finally provides the case that understanding group dynamics and enabling the schizophrenic to rejoin the group as an emotionally alive contributing person rather than an objectified thing to be repaired is essential to all meaningful treatment.