chapter  7
15 Pages

Psychotherapy in the large group

WithRafael Springmann

This chapter describes the weekly meetings of patients and staff held at the psychiatric department of Tel-Hashomer Hospital, Israel. The term 'group memory' can, of course, be avoided by assuming the existence of covert channels of communication through which therapeutically valuable information is verbally or nonverbally transmitted to successive generations of patients. Inconsistency and incoherence, some of the major obstacles in understanding the dynamics of large groups need not automatically be regarded in themselves as required relationships and interpreted as such. A young, acutely paranoid soldier who was on the verge of being transferred to a closed institution because he felt so severely persecuted by ward staff that he had alternately to flee or threaten with violence. The presence of the crowd enables the patients to express it much more intensively than in individual or small-group sessions, with the fear of being tempted to act upon it neutralised by the crowd.