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Koinonia: From Hate through Dialogue to Culture in the Larger Group

Editor : Patrick De Mare, Editor : Robin Piper, Editor : Sheila Thompson

Koinonia: From Hate through Dialogue to Culture in the Larger Group
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Synopsis:

A study of the larger group, focusing on the processes and dynamics whereby the group micro-culture emerges. As the initial frustrations of the group find expression in hate, this is transformed through dialogue to what the Greeks knew as 'koinonia', or the state of impersonal fellowship.

Essentially, Koinonia concerns itself with an operational approach to dialogue, culture and the human mind through the medium of a larger group context, and adopts a direction similar in many ways to the group-analytic method of S.H. Foulkes.

In attempting to link the most intimate aspect of individual beings naturally and spontaneously in the socio-cultural setting of the larger group, by the very nature of its size, offers a structure or medium for linking inner world with cultural context, and is thus able to establish a unique dimension-that of the micro-culture. Until now neither psychoanalysis nor small groups have been able to handle this aspect empirically, since, in the former, the analyst represents the assumed culture, while in the small group situation the hierarchy of the family culture inevitably prevails. The larger group displays the other side of the coin to the inner world, namely the socio-cultural dimension in which interpersonal relationships take place. The exploration of this field shows how objects, including part objects of the mind, can be related to systems and structures in a manner not previously attempted, and raises the vexed question of the relationship of systems to structures and of culture to social context.

In this study of the larger group, particular attention is paid to the processes and dynamics whereby the group micro-culture emerges, as the initial frustrations of the group find their expression through hate; as hate initiates, and is transformed by, dialogue; and as dialogue ultimately establishes what the Greeks knew as 'koinonia', or the state of impersonal fellowship.

Notes about the author(s):

Patrick de Mare was born in London in 1916. He qualified as a doctor in 1941 and enlisted in the RAMC in 1942. After the war he became a Consultant Psychotherapist at St. George's Hospital; he set up the Group Analytic Society with S.H. Foulkes, and later established the Institute of Group Analysis and the Group Analytic Practice. He authored various publications including Perspectives in Group Psychotherapy and Introduction to Group Treatment in Psychiatry.

Robin Piper trained as a social worker at the London School of Economics. He has worked in child and adult psychiatry and later specialised in Family Therapy at the Marlborough Family Service. He went on to train as a psychotherapist with the British Association of Psychotherapists, and the London Centre for Psychotherapy. For several years he was the co-conductor of the large group at the Institute of Group Analysis with Patrick De Mare.

Sheila Thompson qualified as a psychiatric social worker in 1955 and subsequently worked at Great Ormond Street, at the Portman Clinic and the Newnham Community Mental Health Service. She has lived in East Africa working with refugees and in New York where she pursued an interest in family therapy and in the care of patients with terminal cancer. She is now a freelance teacher and writer on group work, bereavement, and terminal care. She has been a member of the Group Analytic Society since 1970 and she is a founding member of the Large Group Section. She is the co-author of The Group Process as a Helping Technique (1970) with Dr. J. H. Kahn, and The Group Process and Family Therapy (1998). She also contributed to The Evolution of Group Analysis, edited by M. Pines.

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