Group, relations, unrepresented

Sapochnik, Carlos (2017) Group, relations, unrepresented. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 17 (2). pp. 179-197. ISSN 1474-2780 (Print) ; 2044-3765 (Online) Full text available

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The terrifying dimension of the psychotic state of mind (the madnessinducing quality that rumour has, which group relations conferences in the Tavistock tradition foster in the form of "casualties") is feared not only by the conference membership but also by their staff, who may lose sight of the fragility of the interdependence between container and contained if they conceive themselves as merely a concrete receptacle of the membership's distress. In order to fulfil its function as such, a container must be disturbed. Hence, reverie is not a romanticised calming state of maternal well-being to be communicated as reassurance, but the digestion of the unpalatable (Bion's concept of the nameless dread) for both contained and container. Such primitive states of mind are represented by the compulsion to repeat through enactments in a collusive participation between conference members and staff. However, the misrecognition of enactment as the membership's acting out impairs the learning for all. The paper includes illustrations from two recent group relations conferences.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Group Processes/Group Dynamics
Department/People: Visiting Lecturer

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