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September 1964

Psychotherapy Through the Group Process.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(3):354. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720270126020

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Drs. Whitaker and Lieberman have written a book summarizing their experience with a wide variety of therapy groups. They have elaborated the concept of group focal conflict originally formulated by Whitman and Stock (1958) and based on French's concept of individual focal conflict.

What makes this book important is its utilization of the group process as a therapeutic tool. This is in marked contrast to a common approach in the group psychotherapy literature which considers the group as an artifact or interference with the therapy of the individual patient.

Because of their wide experience with groups, Whitaker and Lieberman have been able to formulate a convincing theory of group interaction applicable to all sorts of small groups. By combining this with the psychoanalytic model, they have been able to derive, in a logical sequence, the effect on the individual of various group conflicts. They state firmly that there is

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