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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Group Relations in Context

Learning about group dynamics can be both exhilarating and horrifying, especially when learning through the vehicle of ones own experience. Doing so requires people to peel back the surface veneers of self-presentation and mutually protective etiquettes to examine the hidden agendas, covert processes, simplifying myths, primitive fantasies, and intense anxieties that underlie group life. Unconscious processes are exposed as the source of creativity and destructiveness. Participants are confronted with their own beliefs and identifications, aggression, passions, longings, and the sources of vitality and withdrawal that are elicited in the process of joining a group, taking up a role, working with authority, and authorizing others.