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

The Self and the Others. From playing in group to the emotional self- regulation

Abstract

This paper explores one aspect in my view of great value of the group therapy, the possibility to benefit from the presence of several children simultaneously, element which leads more easily and immediately to the manifestation of the dysfunctional relationship dynamics that accompany the emotional disorders. The groupal space is particularly favorable to the reproduction of interactive situations of the everyday world of the child; through the direct observation and identification with peers, or with the help of  a “corrective interpretation during the dysfunctional action” made by the therapist, the children can reshape their relationship patterns. The analysis focalizes the interest on two levels. On the one hand on the development of socialization skills (empathy, understanding, listening and confrontation), on the other hand, on a more purely intrapsychic side, on the internalization of a higher reflective function as an acquisition of the Ego. The repetition of “corrective relationship experiences” promotes a better process of recognition, management and regulation of emotions, which supports the structuring of positive and stable internal representations of the Self, limiting the psychopathological risk in the long run.

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