chapter  11
Battling the Alien: Working Through Self-Hatred in Group Therapy
ByPATRICIA KYLE DENNIS
Pages 3

Many times, group members express an awareness of their struggles and that problematic behavioral patterns are connected to their family histories. However, members are often unaware that enacting their difficulties may serve to maintain a deep emotional connection to their families of origin. The anxiety associated with making a change is due in part to the reality that doing something different will sever this particular family connection and lead to feelings of loss and abandonment. This chapter also describes the intervention to highlight and normalize group members' wishes for having had a different experience when they were growing up, and enables members to make behavioral changes. It is used in a psychodynamically oriented therapy group. The intervention also facilitates group resonance and support around the feelings of loss and abandonment that result from making changes, changes that break old family loyalties. It is contraindicated if members have had experiences of unresolved parental abuse.