Larger groups matrix: median and large group


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*Paper given at the 2nd Mediterranean Conference IAGP. Athens 1-5 Sept 2004, and at the 13th European Symposium in Group Analysis, Molde, Norway 8-13 August 2005, and at the IAGP Congress, Sao Paulo, Brazil July 2006. ( Pubblicato in Group-Analytic Contexts, 2002)

In the Foulkes’ words “the groups we put together bring with them a considerable common ground, pre-existing any of their interactions. This has been called the foundation matrix. On top of this , the individual group itself develops an ever increasing common ground of understanding, of culture, of knowing each other, of expectation; it develops memory, it continues to be affected by what has happened in the past: all this is the dynamic matrix
The small group, the “family group”, is more concerned with transferential phenomena.

In the Median Group, the social group, the transference phenomena almost disappear and the here and now phenomena,especially mirroring, are in the foreground .

The Median Group and mainly the Large Group are more concerned with the primordial level of the matrix, with the archetypal representations of the collective unconscious.
The author explores the archetypal representations of the Mediterranean culture and the connection with Greek Mythology.

Especially in the large group philogenetic regression is very easy. It concerns more the masses and the group is involved in archetypal representations. At this level of the group matrix the Great Mother and the Great Father archetypes appear.

On the deepest level of the foundation matrix of Southern Italy the archetype of the Great Mother appears in her positive version as the good mother who feeds her children. In the negative version as the mother who devours, in the form of the witch, spider etc.

The Great Father archetype who, in his positive version, helps the child to separate from the mother is often secondary or absent or dominated by the negative, diabolical, distructive aspect.
The median and more the large group usually start with chaos. In the Greek Mythology chaos is expressed by the mith of tied progenitors, i.e. the Great Mother Earth.

The Great Mother, the Great Father and the Siblings archetypes, expressed by the myths,with their creative and distructive power,are fundamental in the dynamics of the median and large group.The group process, from chaos to individuation, is an archetypal process . It can be expressed by the famous mith of Jason and the Argonauts.
In the Foulkes’ words “the groups we put together bring with them a considerable common ground, pre-existing any of their interactions. This has been called the foundation matrix. On top of this , the individual group itself develops an ever increasing common ground of understanding, of culture, of knowing each other, of expectation; it develops memory, it continues to be affected by what has happened in the past: all this is the dynamic matrix” (Foulkes S.H.,1990)

In a paper given at the E.G.A.T.I.N. Study days (Arhus,2002) I said:

In his book Group Psychology and the analysis of the Ego,Freud (1921) said that a primary group consists of a certain number of individuals who have put a single identical object in the place of the Ego-ideal and have identified with each other in their Ego. Everything is subordinate to this illusion: if it were allowed to collapse, it would not be long before the group disintegrated. A fundamental phenomenon of collective psychology is the individual’s lack of liberty within the group. This is a leader centric narcissistic group.

Jung (1934) studied in-depth the collective unconscious and the archetypes. The collective unconscious contains the phylogenetic heritage and, as the sum total of all the archetypes,it is the storehouse of all human experiences from the very first to the most obscure ones.

For Jung the process of maturation and individuation is an archetypal process that involves the integration of all the split parts within the personality. It concerns the group as a whole.

Bion’s basic assumptions (1961) are a completion of Freud’s observations on the masses.

Bion individuated one of the basic drives for groups’ aggregation in the defence of individual psychotic anxiety over splitting, fragmentation and destruction.

Foulkes’ Groupanalysis (1948, 1964, 1965, 1975)begins precisely from the point where Freud, Jung and Bion stopped. With the constitution of the small analytical group matrix, Foulkes structures an inverse process. The conductor begins a process of gradual strategic withdrawal in a crescendo of decentralisation to the advantage of free communication between individual members (free floating discussion). So the individuals are put in a position to acquire functional autonomy freed from the head and the other members, that is individuation. de Maré begins where Foulkes stopped with the displacement from the small group (family by proxy) to the median group (society) (Diagram 1).

Diagram 1

The matrix is a network of relations and communications between various individuals who help to create it and the communications between the various individuals occur on several levels(diagram 2).

Diagram 2

  1. Current level: The group represents the community, public opinion, reality, and the conductor is experienced as a leader or authority;

  2. Transference level: it corresponds to mature object relations. The group represents the family, the conductor father or mother and the other members siblings;

  3. Projective level: it corresponds to primitive, narcissistic ‘inner’ object relations in psychoanalysis.Theother members reflect unconscious elements of the individual self. The group represents inner object relations.The group often represents the mother image. The body image is reflected and represented in th group and its members.

  4. Primordial level: The primordial images occur according to the concepts of Freud and those particularly formulated by Jung concerning the existence of a collective unconscious.( Foulkes S.H., 1964).

Group analysis is a psychoanalytical psychotherapy performed by the whole group, under the guidance of the conductor, through communication and the work of translating the meaning of what is communi­cated.

This work leads to the maturation of the group matrix, which in its turn produces the individual change. The individual’s maturation is to the further advantage of the group matrix, in a dynamic and circular continuum (Diagram 3).

Diagram 3

Foulkes’ small group, albeit conceived as a social group, because it consists of 7-8 members is in fact more the expression of a family by proxy. Therefore it is obvious that transferential manifestations have a prominent role.

The small group is more concerned with the transference level of the group matrix.
de Marè’s median group (1989,1990, 1991) (12-30 members) is a development of the Foulkes’ small group and is much closer to the social context. It is large enough to represent society and small enough to allow people to express themselves and to promote individuation.

The Median group is a transitional space for getting out of the kinship (the narcissistic family) and getting into the kithship (the citizenship-society). *


* In a recent letter (03-May-2004) George Christie wrote to me: “ In a letter to me last year Dr. Pat de Maré referred to the anthropologist Hugh Brody’s recent book ‘The Other Side of Eden’ and to a personal discussion he had with Brody in which the latter had strongly supported the contention that hunter-gatherers throughout the world , including the Australian aborigines, have met in median sized groups from time to time…

The aboriginal hunter gatherers were open, generous and verbally honest in their interpersonal relating. The parents, within very supportive extended families, provided space in which their children were free to

Diagram 4

Like in and more than in the small group, in the median group the function of the conductor is that to put the individuals in a position to acquire individuation in a more developed atmosphere of social interactions.His purpose is to put individuals in a position to develop free floating dialogue. Dialogue constitutes the transformative process that converts what does not make sense into understanding and meaning. It is a matter of cultural transposition rather than transference. The non-trans­ference aspects are much vaster than in the small group. Mirroring is particularly in the foreground, together with Ego-Self training in action.


express their feelings both of love and hate, and were provided with opportunities for the transformational effects of play with the family from an early age.

Other historical studies also record that when an aboriginal tribe would assemble togheter from time to time, experienced, wise elders from the constituent groups within the tribe would meet, at some distance from the camp, and would sit in a circle. One elder would usually be considered the leader because of his perceived superior wisdom and influence, but it would be a matter of primus inter pares ( first among equals ). If separate tribes came into conflict, a similar grouping of experienced elders from the different tribes would often meet together in a similar fashion.

Such a median group council of elders would talk over matters of common interest and make decisions about controversial matters in a democratic way. Individual members would say exactly what they felt, all of them would be listen to, and responded to authentically. Their meeting would continue over days if necessary, until some creative solution was reached”.

The median group is more concerned with the projective level of the group matrix.

Whereas in the small group the conductor is a transferential figure and the principal projection of parental figures, in the median group the group as a whole constitutes the canvas onto which the Superego is projected. The conductor himself supports more the role of individuals at an Ego level, encouraging freedom of dialogue, interpreting the nature of social and cultural pressures, promoting and feeding the idioculture. What is the idioculture?

In the Median Group the individuals learn how to speak and how to deal with the emotions aroused, which becomes a very active exercise for the Ego (Ego training in action), which learns how to stand up to the repressive forces and emotions aroused. The individual Ego gradually learns how to speak and think spontaneously. The relations between Id and Ego on the one hand, and between Ego and Super Ego, on the other, are modified in favour of a great liberty and strength of the Ego. That’s Idioculture.

Dialogue with the outside allows a re-organisation of the inner dialogue. The individual comes to know himself or herself through the reaction he causes in others and the image that is sent back to him-her (mirroring).

Unconscious aspects of the Self are discovered through interaction and dialogue with others The individual differentiates through a constant comparison of similarities and differences with others (Brown D.G., 1986)

In short, the group analytical relation is expressed in a work of individuation through recognition and rejoining of the split parts of the Self (Self-training in action), much more than in the small groups. That’s Idioculture.
In the large group philogenetic regression is very easy. It concerns more the masses and the group is involved in archetypal representations of the primordial level ( Usandivaras R.,1982,1984,1985,1986; Pisani R.A., 1998, 2000a, 2000b, 2002).

R. Usandivaras (1986) made a special study on the deepest level. of the matrix. Following Jung's ideas he declared that archetypes belong to the genetic code, that is, they are behavioural patterns not understood but hereditarily transmitted.

The Great Mother and the Great Father archetypes are particularly important in their positive and negative aspects. The Great Mother archetype appears in its positive aspect for example in the form of the Virgin Mary, of Mother Earth who gives food, etc. or in its negative aspect in the form of a witch, a spider, the sea that devours sailors, etc

With regard to the large group, S.H. Foulkes (1975b, p. 54) wrote:

“I believe that the basic process here is a repetition of the ego development in very early stages – a very rapid regression of the ego to these early stages, to its very genesis. I am thinking particulary of the emergence of the individual as a self, as a being of his own, from the total symbiotic unity with the mother. In consonance with this large group very clearly symbolises this all-embracing, archaic mother who represents his whole world”. He refers to the positive and creative aspects of the matrix i.e. of the Great Mother archetype.

In dealing with the group matrix in therapy A. Prodgers (1990) observed that “as a network the matrix also has the characteristics of a spider's web or snare; it can trap and devour. The symbolism is that of the labyrinth or the terrible mother's deadly womb, which is frequently symbolised by a spider's web with a spider in the middle”.

The large and the median groups, more than the small group usually start with chaos ( de Maré P.,1991; Island T.K.,1995,2003; Menoutis V.,2000; Shaked J.,1995,2003; Scheneider S.2003; Wilke G.,2003).

The danger of the persecutory attack by the group towards the individuals and of the dissolution of the individuals into the mass gives rise to panic of near psychotic intensity, i.e. chaos. Fear of being engulfed by the terrible Great Mother is on the basis of looking for a leader omnipotent and omniscient (the Great Father) fighting against the Great Mother.

Foulkes, speaking of what the therapist-conductor in group analysis represents wrote: “He represents an ideal parental figure or a primordial leader image, in a sense the fallic executive of the “mother-group” ( FoulkesS.H., 1964).

Neumann E.(1949,1956) gives particular importance to the myth of the united progenitors, which implies the concept of Chaos.Chaos corresponds to the Great Mother Earth. Mother Earth is a supreme deity who combines within herself all the forces of creation; as such she is at one and the same time the female principle and the male principle. She maintains the characteristics of ambiguity and of beneficial power that nourishes and protects, but also of terrifying power that destroys what it has generated. A bisexual archetype that reminds us of the myth of the united, inseparable parents. Uroboros or Chaos converge in the archetype of the Great Mother. The Mother Earth archetype is a variation of Uroboros, namely, of that chaotic circularity.

The male force first appears as the son of Mother Chaos or Mother Earth. The son becomes the Hero who must fight to change Chaos into Cosmos.In the different mythologies the circularity of Mother Earth is broken by the appearance of a Hero. The figure of the Hero introduces the male value as an autonomous value compared to the female one. Hero leaves men a cultural heritage.From this point of view he is no longer the son of the Great Goddess, he has become emancipated and has gained his autonomy, a driving force, he is the creator of a cultural order, that is, he is a "parent", a being with its own creative physiognomy. He has become the "Pater", i.e., the founder ancestor. Therefore the Hero in the form of the founder ancestor is the first expression of the Great Father archetype. The Great Father archetype appears in its positive aspect in the form of founder fathers, the healer, the spiritual father, etc., in its negative aspect in the form of the devil the dictator,the tyrant, the destructive father and generally in all the negative, male forms.
M. Kritikou and V. Menoutis gave a Seminar at the Department of Neurological Sciences of the University “ La Sapienza”, Rome (9 / 5 / 01):”Good and Bad Siblings archetypes in Greek Mythology” in which they reported some of the main themes of the Greek Mithology. I’m going to summarize them.

According to Hesiod Chaos, Gaia and Eros are the three primordial elemens.

Before anything there is Chaos. After Chaos Gaia comes. Eros is the primitive force of attraction. With his energy all elements tend to unite and from this union life starts.

Gaia gives birth to Ouranos, the starry sky that covers her entirely. Their marriage is the source of universal life.

From Gaia and Ouranos are born giant and monstrous beings: Cyclopes, Titans, Giants, with destructive forces. Dreadful children detested by Ouranos who wants to stop destruction sinking them inside the entrails of Gaia. But Gaia, rebelling to her husband’s cruelty, armes against him Kronos, the most skillful and obedient of her sons.

Kronos, i.e. time, castrates his father and starts a new order, regulating the course of things.

Kronos joins with Rhea, the goddess of movement, successin and duration.

Kronos has the same luck of Ouranos, as he also tries to put obstacles to the progress of creation, by swallowing all the Rhea’s newborn children. Only Zeus saves himself.

Zeus stops Kronos and order prevails when he wins all the hostile forces, represented by Titans and Giants.

Zeus becomes the supreme spirit who directs the universe, holds the balance, and watches over the maintenance of ethics and physical order.

Hera, his sister, is the last wife of Zeus. The previous are Meti (wisdom), Themis and Everynome (order and beauty).They represent the incorporation of the Mother Archetype in the final Father Archetype with many creative maternal elements.

In the human society Zeus is the god of Justice, who enacts the rules and makes others respect them.

Zeus sleepless watches over the moral order and when this order is disturbed there is always expiation.

Furthermore Zeus is a merciful god who does not only have power and justice but also goodness.

The good and bad siblings archetype is connected with that of the Great Mother and Great father with their creative and destructive power. The myth of the Dioskouroi is an example of the power of the good sibling love and support. Polydeuces accepts to share half immortality with his brother Castor and the powerful sibling bond becomes the myth of love, self sacrifice and loyalty.

On the contrary the myth od Atreas and Thyestis represents hate, envy, enmity between siblings. Atreas kills his son, without knowing he is his own. For revenge he killes Thyestis’ sons and gives him to eat the flesh of his own children. This action has been punished by Gods with a very long and terrible dryness and infertility.

The foundation Matrix of Southern Italy . The cult of the Mother figure.

(Mediterranean Bioculture)

At the European Symposium in Group Analysis( Oxford 1987,1990) in my papers I concluded by saying that popular customs,rituals and traditions of Southern Italy are based on certain main themes such as fertility and impotence,which are blended with magic-supernatural ones of propitiation, spells and exorcism. The fertility theme is widespread and many rituals are based on fears relating to insecurity about reproductive potency in individuals and in surrounding nature. At the deepest levels,however, the dominating figure is the mother, often felt to be omnipotent and hyperprotective (Pisani R.A., 1993).

The mother is the dominant figure in the field of custom, ceremony and iconographic images, often being felt to be 'archaic', that is, experienced by the child as the omnipotent and hyperprotective wet-nurse, but also evil and devouring. In Sardinia, as D. Fernandez (1965) describes, the Sardinian refuses to be dependent on the mother and tries to escape from the suffocating maternal love, behaviour which, moreover, is not generally condoned. The Sardinian mother, e.g., adopts a virile, distant expression, ready to 'compete with the male. An image that expresses this mother very well is offered by a hermaphroditic sculpture that dates back to proto-historical times and is kept in the archaeological museum of Cagliari: the 'Mediterranean Mother'.

Rites and rituals with a self-aggressive meaning are common and many traditions come close to being masochistic, justified by the expiation of supposed guilts.

Religious ceremonies are centred chiefly on the Madonna cult which, as E. Jones (1951) points out, is always seen as a mother.

At the shrine of the Madonna of the Arch, in Campania, the Madonna has vindictive fame. People go there every year on pilgrimage beating their breasts, barefoot and bleeding.

The same at the procession of “Madonna dell’Assunta” in Guardia Sanframonti ( region of Benevento) every seven years.

All over the South there is a clear predominance of evil female characters, “witches”, over male sorcerers, who

usually typify the figure of the ”healer”.

Some regions of Campania, like Irpinia and Sannio (districts of Avellino, Benevento) accorging to some legends, are inhabited by witches described as indeterminate female figures, half-animal and half-human (Lombardi Satriani L., 1971).

Witches are the devil's mistresses, evil, perpetrators of infanticide, murderesses. They are the sorceresses who administer love potions. In the district of Benevento, Sabba, there is the witches’ reunion, during which these women abandon themselves to frenziend dances and banquets with children, dead cats and so on.They are called janare and are considered to be responsible for the deformities in children touched by them.

In Albano, a village in Basilicata, up to a few years ago it was believed that the nights were disturbed by strange characters, the maciare, female characters who amused themselves by playing tricks on sleepers and tying them up. Tying up represents the symbolic image of the psychic state of domination (De Martino E., 1959).

A typical exorcismal rite was practiced in Sardinia up to a few years ago : the ritual of the argia,a small black female spider (Gallini C.,1967), archetypal representation of the Terrible Mother who devours her children.

All over the Southern ltaly they often resort to magic rites of propitiaton and exorcism: recitation of magic formulae, carrying out ritual acts, putting an object (such as keys, horseshoes, horns, spades) behind the door or under the bed, to exorcize dangers to themselves, to others or to crops


In Southern Italy externally the family has a patriarchal structure. In the wife the husband seeks a mother and a mistress, whereas the wife seeks a father and protector for herself and her children in the husband. The men love to deceive their mother-wife with occasional mistresses, almost reliving the old mischievous tricks played on their real mother (Fernandez D., 1965).

In Basilicata the woman is the scapegoat and she releases her ten­sions via magic rituals, becoming at the same time marginalized and the creator of her own marginalization (De Martino E., 1959).

I’m trying to make use of the levels to analyse this matrix of Southern Italy (Pisani R.A., 1993).

  1. Current Level

This is the level of external, socio-economic reality; a long-standing economic tradition based on agriculture and family self-sufficiency, a tradition which now seems to be partially modified by emigration,urbanization, and so on, these latter being factors which can be seen,inter alia, as destabilizing and menacing, owing to the loss of family support and protection.

  1. Transference Level

This is the level of mature object relation; group equals family, father, mother, siblings. It is the level of Oedipal problems with their related guilt feelings and castration anxiety, expressed on the one hand by usages, customs and propitiatory rites of fecundation and reproduction and by punitive and expiatory rites on the other.

  1. Projective Level

The projective level is that at which the mechanisms of denial, splitting, projection, introjection, projective and introjective identification operate. It corresponds to the most primitive magic-narcissistic relations with partial objects. Aggressive, destructive oral and anal parts are projected and introjected with magic aspects and separation anxieties. In the new-born child's dependence on the omnipotent mother M. Klein (1957) individuates the cause of the envy inherent in every human being. Greed, jealousy act as a corollary to the envy against which primordial defence mechanisms come into play with persecutory anxieties, guilt and depression.

The term 'envy' comes from the Latin invidere: 'to look upon with suspicion, malignantly, and with hatred, that is, to cast the evil eye. These mechanisms are reciprocal and multipersonal. All the rites and ceremonials,based on the evil eye, bad luck, sorcery, enchantment and so on, seem to be an expression of the projection of destructive envy; just as spells, exorcism, and so on are the expression of the attempt to defend oneself magically from this. On an oral level, the expiatory ceremonials would seem to be the expression of the guilt feeling con­nected to envious destructiveness.

4. Primordial Level

This is the level of the collective unconscious and of archetypes, as expanded upon and developed by R. Usandivaras (1982, 1984, 1985 1986). On this deepest level of the foundation matrix of Southern Italy the archetype of the primordial Great Mother has an important role. In a certain sense the matrix of the large group of Southern Italy is already of itself this archetype.

The Great Mother appears in her positive version as the good mother who feeds her child, the Virgin Mary, the good Mother Earth who nourishes, the Motherland and so on; in the negative version she is the arid, greedy and devouring Mother Earth, the sea that swallows up sailors, witches that kill children, the spider that weaves her web to capture and devour, and so on.

In Southern Italy the mother-son relationship is based on the mother's giving the son food, warmth and protection and on the son's devotion towards the mother. It is an ambivalent bond, potentially destructive: love and devotion for giving food and protection, and hatred for its dependence.

The archetype of the positive Great Father, who helps the child to separate from the mother, is often secondary or clearly dominated by the negative, diabolical and destructive aspect that limits and prevents the expression of individual possibilities.

Most rites of exorcism seem to be directed to the protection from harm caused magically by evil persons, mostly of the female sex: witches, sorceresses and enchantresses. Perhaps it is significant that these exorcismal rites are performed mostly by males: magicians, priests, healers, and so on, just as amulets to protect oneself from sorceresses, the evil eye, and so on are objects with phallic sym­bolism: keys, nails, horns, teeth, horseshoes, and such, or characters such as dwarfs, gnomes, Punch, substances that are symbols of sperm, such as salt, are often used, or the gesture is made of touching the testicles to ward off spells.

In one village in the province of Salerno, Ispani, in which Maria Antonia Ferrante carried out her research:...” the emaciated ninety-three-year-old parish priest . . . nourishes himself with a fair amount of alcohol and with a few leftovers ... a misogynist which is evidenced in the way he keeps the beautiful Madonnas of the parish church hidden away in a cupboard ... to make room for the statues of St Rocco, on whose miracle-working benevolence every inhabitant of Ispani depends” (Ferrante M.A., 1993).

In an analytic connotation, hypochondriac alarm, so widespread in these agricultural communities, can be seen as the manifestation of a common and unconscious sense of guilt, together with fear of punishment in the form of impotence or sterility. The customs and habits are therefore produced by the wish to free human personality from a sense of guilt, from the danger of punishment and misfortune, and to restore the natural gift of potency and fertility (Jones E., 1951). At a deeper level, and closely connected to the above, it can be related to the dependence on the mother figure.

Dependence on the mother, deeply rooted in the culture of Southern Italy, expresses itself in two ways: fear of separation and of loss and fear of the devouring fusion. The anxiety of separation is perceived as panic and fragmentation, fusional anxiety as assimilation and annihilation.

It is undoubtedly significant that many habits typical of Southern Italy, and capable of soothing the anxiety of separation, such as keep­ing contact with home, the neighbourhood, the town, the place of origin, objects, and so on, are at the same time capable of initiating fusional anxieties of annihilation.

The archaic deep and ancestral bond with the mother signifies sub­mission and hatred towards her because it prevents separation. Fusional anxiety is concerned with the negative and aggressive aspect of the archetype of the Great Mother which in this sense is expressed in the form of a witch who devours children.

At this point it must be pointed out that the circumstances that favour the emergence of the mother's negative aspect are the continual demands, the 'sucking', the loading of every burden onto the woman, heaping her with every form of aggression. Continually being preyed upon, often without recompense, embitters the mother, who when she is tired, is more likely to show herself in her evil aspect.

On the basis of these observations concerning the study and analysis of the external cultural context, the hypothesis summarized in diagram 5 has been advanced (Pisani R. A., 1998, 2000a, 2000b). In it particular emphasis is given to the behavioural forms based on oral destructive patterns (bioculture). (See also Klain E., 1997)

Diagram 5

This vicious circle, the expression as it were of the "serpent that bites its own tail", can be interpreted as a uroboric circle,i.e.”chaos”. In it dependence on the mother (possessive and devouring) - the negative aspect of the Great Mother archetype - is at the basis of the separation and fusion anxiety fuelled by the absence, insignificance or destructiveness of the Great Father archetype.

Separation and fusion anxiety, at the basis of the incomplete male and female identity, is responsible for castration anxiety in males and for penis envy with phallic defence in females.

These two male and female aspects are at the basis of the clash between the sexes, widespread in social culture and reproduced in the analytical situation of the Median Group.

The clash between the sexes is expressed by becoming passive (castrating) on a genital level and by devouring on an oral level. The reciprocal destructiveness closes and fuels the archetypal behavioural circle, encouraging the further emergence of the negative version of the Great Mother, the return to her or her cancellation.

How can we change chaos into cosmos and start a process of individuation? We have to change the clash between Bioculture and Socioculture into Idioculture.

For R. Usandivaras the therapeutic process becomes a ritual: “The therapeutic group allows its member to return to archaic stages of human evolution, where magical thought prevails and archetypal images emerge as ancient myths stored in the collective unconscious…Thus the group therapeuthic process becomes a ritual”. ( Usandivaras R.,1985 )

Usandivaras distinguishs four stages in the therapeutic group process. A first stage in which the patients, having to act in a situation different from those usually encountered in the social structure to which they belong, get more and more anguished. Feeling themselves forsaken, impotent and isolated, they start to experience primary emotions such as fear, rage and distrust. This stage has been named.’chaotic,' because of its analogiy with the primeval chaos of all the cosmogonies. During this situation, two forces, both antagonistic and complementary, appear in the group: one tending towards the indiscriminate union of its members, a 'centripetal' force, and another leading towards the separation and disintegration of the group, a 'centrifugal' force. This is the second stage of 'fusion and disintegration'. The indiscriminate union, as a reaction to the isolation of the first stage, causes a sensation of loss of self limits and confusion with the others. The anguish this situation produces moves towards an explosive escape which, where it to be attained, would cause the disintegration of the group. In most cases, a dynamic balance between both forces is reached so that the group may enter a third stage, 'communitas’ ( Cosmos, Koinonia) .It is during this stage that a useful and necessary level of regression is reached, when the roles each patient had in the outer world are left aside and a new bond, direct and spontaneous, is established among all of them. Thus, an intense emotional atmosphere is created from which the individual and collective unconscious, emerge. The group returns to the origins,the beginnings of a man as individual and species with revival of fears, impulses, passions and fantasies of the arcaic past.There is a regression to the times when the world was a totality in which everything was related and the 'mana' was the most powerful magical force.

The fourth and final stage of the group therapeutic process is that of individuation.The patients start to get out of the 'communitas' in order to recover their individuality within the group and take back their roles in the social structure. But they do not return to the original status; now they are different, more mature and with a different vision of themselves and of the world. They are somehow the new men who are reborn from the initiatory trip,different beings, 'died' melaphorically when the process started.

Something like that expressed by the Greek word Idioprosopia ( Kritikou M., Menoutis V., 2000), that is to put” him or herself in relation to anybody in a way of being free and independent, unified and unique”.

The therapist is responsible for guiding the group during this trip. He is guided as by an Arianne’s trhead through the labyrinth. The group process from chaos to individuation is an archetypal process, as expressed also by the famous myth of Jason and the Argonauts. Jason is the hero who has to fight against the dragon-mother who non longer protects and feeds but devours, imprisons and prevents from individuation.
Dialogue is the transformative process from chaos to cosmos and to individuation.

As Margatita Kritikou maintains: “In Athenian democracy dialogue, which is the basis of eleutheria or freedom and one of the greatest gifts of Ancient Greece to humanity, was cultivate in dept” ( Kritikou M., 2000 ). .

Plato is the inventor of dialogue. Language and communication are its instrument.

The confusion and plurality of languages (Tower of Babel) comes from an act of pride, represented by the biblical person Nimrod; as if to say that narcissism is at the basis of the lack of relational communication and that, vice versa, the lack of relations and communication leads to narcissistic isolation (Pisani R.A., 2000c). Dialogue is the instrument, par excellence, for overcoming narcissistic barriers. It is condition and means to transform chaos into cosmos and get individuation

Large, median and small group are absolutely complementary in promoting and getting individuation through dialogue. Large group is basic to have insight in collective and cultural unconscious, to deepen in the small group, through insight and working through at the family and individual level. The median group is fundamental for getting out of the kinship (the narcissistic family) and getting into the kithship (the citizenship-society).


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