June 1967

Principles of Group Treatment.

Author Affiliations

By Eric Berne, MD. Price, $6.50. Pp 379. Oxford University Press, 417 Fifth Ave, New York 10017, 1966.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(6):770-771. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730240126022

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The function of this review is to warn the reader not to waste valuable time on this book. It is predictably, but disappointingly, dominated by the author's theory of individual psychology. Briefly, this theory consists of a categorization of character defenses which are labeled "games." This manner of looking at defenses stresses their alloplastic function; that is, their tendency to involve other people for unconscious defensive purposes or wishful needs. However, the author treats them as ploys both in theory and practice. The reality and intensity of the underlying drives and conflicts are flippantly demeaned as "payoff." Anxiety is not seriously considered, and guilt is dismissed as mainly "unauthentic." Since the patient is only "playing games" one need only show him how "silly" they are, that they do not lead to what the patient wants, and then the patient will give them up. This operation is

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