N. 40 - Group and Rite

Resonances and Reflections on the Works of Marinelli, Mellier, and Neri Presented at the “Group and Ritual” Conference

Abstract

The theme “Group and Ritual” seems of particular significance at this profoundly complex and dramatic historical moment, with the danger of closing into the “private,” provoking a disintegrating and dangerous narcissism. The analytically-led small group can be not only a valid model for dealing with narcissistic closure in the self, but is also a preferable method for healing contemporary malaise, characterized by the inhibition of preconscious functions of creativity and symbolization. This lack is intensified in times of profound change, of transitional events such as birth, death, life stages, love and war. Rituals are important to contain and give these events meaning, reinforcing supportive ties both for the individual and for the group as a whole. Clinical examples are presented in which it is shown that in small therapeutic groups rituals are “created” that are life-giving and meaningful on both the group and the individual level.

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