N.35 - Play, bond and change in Psychodynamic Group Therapy for Children

The Bodily Dimension in Groups of Children

Abstract

The work is based on the results of a clinical research project made over a fifteen year period on open groups in which children of different age groups participated. In group with children, the prevailing language is the primitive one of body language, whose alphabet, represented by sensory and motor functions, directly addresses the emotions. With children it is necessary to start with this archaic language of actions because their thought processes are concentrated on motorial “explosions”. The alpha function transforms the beta elements into that which Bion calls alpha elements, namely into those psychic elements that have characteristics that can be used as thoughts. The conductor collects the beta elements and after removing the distressing aspects, returns them to the children, thereby giving them the basis of an ability to think. The transformational path for the children is based primarily upon this passage from motorial action to the ability to describe what they feel. It is therefore necessary to note how narrative in groups of children is generated through forms of bodily contact, which often arrive at the borders of action.
Consequently, the function of the conductor must be based mainly on an ability to transform movements into scenes.

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