The Discovery of Siblings: Oedipus joins a therapy group

In this paper, Caroline Garland will show, with clinical examples how, as members of a psychoanalytic therapy group realize that they must share the presence of a single therapist, they turn to each other for understanding instead of always to the therapist. This can be enormously helpful to those who otherwise might remain restricted by their Oedipal conflicts, anxieties and illusions.
Date: 29/06/2024 Time: 11am-12:30pm Venue:  Oxford Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LW  Price: £25.00

Description

 Oxford Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LW  

 Saturday 29th June 2024           

 11am to 12.30pm (registration and refreshments from 10.30am)

 £25.00 (1.5 hours CPD)

 

This is a Wessex BPF event and will be in person only

 

The belief, conscious or unconscious, that one is a parent’s only or most favoured child may be universal.   Oedipus himself is felt to be unique, and special.   In individual settings in which Oedipal issues emerge, the analyst is perceived as belonging to the more knowledgeable or parental generation, becoming the object of possessive love or rivalrous hostility.  In this paper, Caroline Garland will give material showing how as members of a psychoanalytic therapy group realise that they must share the presence of a single therapist, they turn to each other for understanding instead of always to the therapist.  Thus in terms of the generations, the connectedness in the room is primarily lateral rather than vertical.   This reflects Bion’s description of the move into a Work Group from a Basic Assumption Dependency group. Members come to develop strong connections with each other.  They are not family, neither are they friends, nor colleagues, although relationships within the group contain elements of each.   As individual differences produce rivalries, irritations and alliances, as well as loyalties and feelings of affection, relationships in the group seem similar to those between siblings in a large family:  intimate knowledge of each other, a common language, plain – even blunt - speaking, which might include jokes; and an ambience that is ultimately supportive.   That group members can discover how to use their 7 or 8 fellow members as honorary siblings can be enormously helpful to those who otherwise might remain restricted by their Oedipal conflicts, anxieties and illusions, stuck in a mental world in which an idealised sole possession of the parent (or transference equivalent) is felt to be not only the only but the most desirable solution to the difficulties of mental and personal life.     

 

About the speaker 

Caroline Garland:  Psychoanalyst, Clinical Psychologist

Caroline Garland has spent many years as a clinician, teacher and researcher both in the Tavistock Clinic and the Maudsley Hospital.  Before working in the NHS, she was an ethologist, studying the social behaviour of chimpanzees, which she followed with a study of the behaviour of newborn babies in St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington.  Her clinical and academic work includes many publications, including three books: Children and Day Nurseries (1980), Understanding Trauma (1999, 2002) and The Groups Book:  Psychoanalytic Group Therapy, Principles and Practice (2010).  She has presented the work of the Tavistock Clinic, and its relevance for modern mental health provision, to the general public – for instance in the ground-breaking BBC2 series, Talking Cure.  She has had much experience in working with groups, including consulting to organisations in trouble, and working in conflict situations at home and abroad.  She was one of the senior clinicians working with patients in the Tavistock Study of Long-Term Treatment-Resistant Depression which she describes as demanding but fascinating work, making emotional contact with people who have spent many years in a state of retreat, living in an emotional bunker from which they are hard to unearth and get moving once more.

Chair: Toni Harvey, Psychotherapist