Oppression, freedom, and recognition in an analytic therapy group: group and therapist interactions from relational and group analytic perspectives

Int J Group Psychother. 2012 Jul;62(3):436-58. doi: 10.1521/ijgp.2012.62.3.436.


Group analytic and relational writings point to the development of mutual recognition between individuals as a main treatment goal. To achieve this, it is necessary to face up to issues of control and oppression in the therapeutic relationship, particularly as enacted by the therapist. The relationship between the therapist and group members is a co-construction, shaped by their respective subjectivities. The therapist's willingness to enter into an open examination of his or her enactments can stimulate change in relationships with patients, resulting in freer and more spontaneous communication in the group. To illustrate, several sessions of an analytic therapy group are presented in which there were struggles between (1) the desire for equality and mutuality and (2) firm exercise of authority.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Countertransference
  • Emotions
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Leadership
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / organization & administration
  • Social Control, Informal