TRANSFORMATION IN THE GROUP

THEODORE K. WHITENECK



Drawings by Joline Whiteneck

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

PAIDEIA
San Francisco
June, 1977
                         
Copyright 1977,
Revised 2007, 2017
PAIDEIA is now an affiliate of Global Network:
PAIDEIA;
School of  Journeys;             

School on Borders
                www.borderstudiesassociates.net.




























































Dedication

To Joline, my love, my muse and inspiration.


To Wallace and Edna McAfee
and all the members of Group,
past, present, and future.

























































































































ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A Group is composed of a number of individuals who meet and share themselves with one another. This project is, in many ways, a Group project. A variety of other people have helped form my views. Their insights, perspectives, and comments have been immeasurably valuable to my project and my own Group experience. I have vicariously shared the joy and surprise that comes as we see a person expand and actualize their potentials beyond anything that they dreamed possible. I have also witnessed, hopefully with compassion, the pain felt by some who we, our society, have not been able to help. They, too, have contributed to my understanding. If it were possible I would like to communicate my appreciation to them also.
            My friends at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center: staff, physicians, and patients, have given me a great deal of personal encouragement as well as experiential knowledge in transformation. Thanks particularly to Betty Armacost, Neuropsychiatric Department Unit Manager, and Pat Jimenez, Senior Clinical Nurse, both Senior Psychiatric Nurses—true masters (mistresses?) of therapeutic communication as it can be developed. They introduced me to approaches of communication with people with extreme emotional and mental disorder: psychosis (schizophrenia, bi-polar; manic-depression as well as depression, OBS, dementia, substance induced psychosis) as well as adolescent behavioral dilemmas, and a vast array of out-of the-ordinary states of consciousness that gained them admission (often at their own request, but not always) to a Neuropsychiatric Unit. Also thanks to Joy Phillips, R. N., later Unit Manager, who encouraged the development and presentation of the Crisis Intervention Workshop.

            I cannot say too much about the influence of the McAfees and the members of Group on my ideas. I will let the chapters that relate to them speak for themselves.

            My parents, Kingery and Margueritte Whiteneck, have given me a great amount of support during the writing.

            Barbara Davidson accomplished the task of typing the original project while providing much interesting conversation. Thanks for the word “explicate”, Barbara; it fits it all.

            Finally, my wife Joline encouraged me throughout the project with stimulation, support, feedback, and introduced me to the whole field in the first place.











ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

to 2007 revision

I have attempted to revise my original Ph. D. dissertation with a minimal number of changes. That said, a great deal of experience has transpired in the last 30 years. Consequently, I have added a few comments, explanations, and illustrative examples as well as a few additional references. (Note 2017: Actually, now I have added a good deal of autobiographically significant notes, most finding their way to the End Notes; but a few seem to fit into the main text.) These have not really changed any of the basic premises of the original paper. I have led and participated in several additional types of Groups with different procedures and goals. I have also had a great deal of Crisis Intervention experience while employed by Santa Cruz County Department of Mental Health as a Senior Clinician/Crisis Intervention Specialist. While Crisis Intervention is now a regular service of hospitals and mental health departments, it has too often become an intake, evaluation, and referral service, rather than a clinical treatment approach in the manner that it was originally envisioned in the writings of Caplan and Aguilera and Messick. I would also like to extend thanks to my colleagues at Santa Cruz County Mental Health for stimulating and challenging my ideas about both Crisis Intervention and Group development.

            In my own practice I have continued to approach family, couple, adolescent, individual adult, and Group issues within a crisis counseling-psychotherapy and role-play framework similar to those that I describe in this study. I have also extended the field of Crisis Intervention into other areas of political analysis, radical education, and public administration. The content of my approach has remained the same while experience has honed certain features. Communication principles have become more important and vital for promoting interpersonal development. Humor and play, which emerged as vital therapeutic qualities in my original research, seem to be not only desirable but also indispensable (such a heavy word for such a light subject!). It seems that play’s quality of surprise is manifested existentially the way it almost pops-up at unexpected times and places and leads to new and imaginative directions!

            Many thanks to G.T. Toriz for shepherding the text from a half dozen disks (I thought “floppy” referred to the mechanical process by which information was recorded and stored. I now see that it refers to the way the text flops around during the reading and transfer process.), entered on a half dozen computers that I used during the transcription and revising, over half a dozen years, to a flash drive, and finally to this website. Any mistakes in the text are my responsibility. (For instance, some of these half dozen computers seem to have different styles of lettering for the same named font. Go figure!)

          Malcolm McAfee has been a continual source of support and inspiration. Many coffeehouse napkins have been consumed in our discussion notes, plans, and diagrams. Malcolm is one of the founders of PAIDEIA. He has maintained this vision throughout a multitude of changes over the years. PAIDEIA itself has developed into a network of research institutes that also include SCHOOL OF JOURNEYS, SCHOOL ON BOARDERS: a GLOBAL NETWORK:  www.borderstudiesassociates.net.

             Joline Whiteneck has continued to be my inspiration and advisor as well as my two sons, James and Ben.  They all keep me both grounded and slightly ahead of myself, hopefully developing and evolving.

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INTRODUCTION

Observing the Group, we are studying one of the most potent experiences in human existence—that is if we are studying the true Group. The word ‘group’ is bandied about so much! We can use this word for a conglomeration of objects that we perceive to have a rough relationship to one another. I have been amused how often I have come across books entitled something to the effect of The Theory of Groups in the psychology or sociology section of a bookstore. I open the book to see what it has to say and find a mathematical text. This is only a tangent to the Group that I am writing about.

         This difference may be further illustrated. Imagine ourselves traveling on a wilderness plain. In the distance there are six people standing in a circle facing one another. From our vantage-point they resemble Stonehenge: imposing vertical figures standing out from the background, seemingly connected to one another, yet separate.


Outside the lights were shining on the river of tears,

I walked in from the distance with the music in my ears.

                                                                   -from Bob Dylan, Went to See the Gypsy

The music that we hear is people talking. The air within the circle is charged, almost glowing. These people could be sitting around a campfire, in the dark of night, telling ancient stories, each person in turn. Or they may be involved in a frenzied debate, everyone bubbling over with ideas, barely allowing or getting in a word edgewise. It seems that they cannot possibly understand or hear one another, yet they respond swiftly—sometimes wildly—with high energy, humor, and friendship.

We are getting closer to the Group.


The circle people turn to look at us, slightly puzzled. The two closest people part and open the circle.  One beckons. Another smiles.  We feel a certain relief but also a bit of apprehension. We take the several steps necessary and become part of the circle making the number eight. Everyone sits down, pulling up a comfortable rock or log. The Group members turn toward us asking our names and introducing theirs. They inquire who we are and a little of what we are about. They seem genuinely interested.


Only now are we beginning to find out about a Group. The Group is a transformation. But not only one—it is a series of transformations. Webster defines transformation as:  


            ...an act or instance of being changed completely or essentially in structure or composition.



Examples that are included in the dictionary entry:



In the earliest times transformations were common, and there was apparently no real line between animal and human...transformation of policy into law...transformation of man’s nature in Christ.

Webster 3rd International Dictionary (238) 1 (notes @ end of chapter) 


                

Of late profound personality change has been somewhat confused with altered states of consciousness. We are looking toward transformations of greater substance.2 We may suddenly see the world and ourselves differently, just as suddenly returning to our ‘normal’ life. This is only a first hint of the process! Transformation is slow, like growth—indeed it is growth. More profound than the flip-flops of sudden enlightenment, also like growth, transformation comes in fits and spurts, involving repeated experience, practice, and discipline. The sudden flash of insight may certainly be part of the experience, but it is not its all or even primary goal.   

            This study is about the Transformation in the Group. True to the title, we find that this transformation refers to a change of an individual member of the Group and a change in all members of the Group together. The transformation is both.

            If we could watch a transformation in the Group, showing the action in very slow motion, we would see a sequence that resembles the following:



           We sit in the circle.                           Nobody is speaking.

           We look intently at one another.       

            There is a feeling of impasse.

            
            Suddenly one person comes forth with a statement.

                It is a catalyst.

            Everybody breathes a certain relief and conversation spontaneously erupts.



One person’s change becomes the Group’s. The Group’s change becomes each member’s change. The process may be reversed:



                A Group member is very upset, crying.

                The Group takes the member’s hand.

                Another member agrees: “Yes, this is very hard. There doesn’t seem to be any way to handle the problem.”

                The crying continues.

                The Group takes the person, picking them up and cradling them between six people, three on each side.

                        Rocking, rocking.

                        The crying becomes sobs.


                After a few minutes the rockee stands up, thanks the rockers, and sits down in the circle.


                Later,the rockee discusses possible options in light of the problem.


We are coming closer to the Group.


In this study there is much attention given to the determination of what a Group is and, then, what a Group does. In certain ways this is misleading. The Group can only be known thoroughly through the experience of Group membership. Even then, this knowledge is transitory and growing as the Group has a constant dynamic quality. I have attempted to portray as much of this elan as possible.

          We will confront various theories and ideas, many different perspectives and viewpoints. This experience is similar to Group membership; the ideas of each member contribute to the texture of the whole. Perspectives that you don’t expect or anticipate enlarge your own!

            I have quoted various theorists, group researchers, and experimenters at length as it is only possible to understand the transformation if we can experience the effect of the development of their ideas upon us.

            The real organic process of the Group takes place when we start to notice that certain themes emerge then disappear, temporarily, only to re-emerge again later in discussion, from another speaker’s point-of-view, often rephrased and reworded. This is the essence of Group process and the interplay that leads to transformation.

            We will disagree with some ideas. We may even think that there are some that are downright crazy. We may feel attracted to other viewpoints. For the study of the Group let us find common threads before we reject or applaud.


Once a sense of Group membership begins to be shared, themes regarding our common social experience enter the conversation. David Riesman, in his classic study of social affinity and alienation, The Lonely Crowd (189), has delineated several characterizable types of people: personalities arising in response to a society’s socioeconomic development. Wallace McAfee often refes to Riesman’s study while emphasizing difficulties individuals face dealing with what may be called social identity. These different personality types include the Tradition Directed Personality, the Inner Directed Personality, the Other Directed Personality, as well as the anomic or alienated person, and finally, the autonomous person which Riesman casts in an optimistic light.

            The Tradition Directed Person is the dominant character of members of primitive social orders. There is a high socioeconomic growth potential, but the population is small; high birth rates and high death rates keep community size in check. As factors contributing to the death rate are decreased, largely due to the effects of improved health and nutritional technologies, a transitional period of population growth is brought about. Society at this point is somewhat unstable and a new character comes to the fore: the Inner Directed Person. Riesman describes this person as having a point of view minimally influenced by surrounding society. He pictures the Inner Directed Person as guided by an internal gyroscope, set in motion by parental influence in childhood. Riesman describes the rugged individualist and industrialists of the 19th and early 20th Centuries as examples of this character type.

            As population and socioeconomic growth peaks and re-stabilizes to resource and environmental limits, the third character type becomes the most prevalent: the Other Directed Person. This personality is very sensitive to the feelings of others. Riesman uses the metaphor of social radar; persons constantly scan the social environment to be aware that their behavior is approved and that they are adjusted to the social norms.

            Our society certainly appears to be moving rapidly through the second stage and into the third. The Inner Directed Person is being replaced by the Outer Directed Person. An important question we must struggle with is whether we are all doomed to choose between these three positions and live out our lives as Other Directed with our personal radar scanning our peers; or we may involve ourselves in the acquisition-control-power games of the Inner Directed Personality.

            The group, at first glance, seems as though it would be a fertile petri dish to culture Other Directed people. On the other hand, it is not unusual for people to reject Group participation out-right, seeing this as a threat to Inner Directed values that they were raised to uphold, these values far from the death knell in our society. 3

                Marshall McLuhan, more recently characterizes the direction of our contemporary society as becoming a world-wide electronic tribe:

 

Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. “Time” has ceased,“space” has vanished. We have begun to structure the primordial feeling, the tribal emotions from which a few centuries of literacy divorced us. 

The Medium is the Massage (153:6)



There are shadings of a new global Tradition Directed viewpoint here. However, an important question comes up at this point that will be stimulus for extensive discussion ahead: Does not each member of a tribe know each of the other members personally, as individuals?


Reisman does not limit the possibilities to these three types. He identifies individuals who develop in directions other than the normal social flow. He names these two other possibilities Anomie and Autonomy.


In each society those who do not conform to the characterological patterns of the adjusted may be either anomic or autonomous. Anomic is English for Durkheim’s Anomique (adjective anomie) meaning ruleless, ungoverned. My use of anomic, however, covers a wider range than Durkheim’s metaphor. It is virtually synonymous with maladjusted, a term I refrain from using because of its negative connotations; for there are some cultures where I would place a higher value on the anomic or maladjusted than on the adjusted...the anomic person tends to sabotage either himself or his society, probably both.  

The Lonely Crowd (189:242)

Then we have a choice between adjustment within the three types, socio-pathology, madness, or individuation. Anomie is roughly defined as maladjustment, the word describing a person who has not incorporated the rules of society. The hope of the Autonomous Person is that he or she may influence others:

But in a large society such as the American there is room for disparities, and hence for individuals to chose different modes of reconciliation.  In the upper-income strata in America, many of the pressures which individuals feel spring from their shared interpretations of what is necessary to get along.  As soon as one or two in a group emancipate themselves from these interpretations, without their work or their world coming to an end, others, too, may find the courage to do so.  In that case, character will change in consonance with the altered interpretations of conditions.

            In asking where the one or two innovators may come from, we must remember that social character is not all of character.  The individual is capable of more than his society usually asks of him, though it is not at all easy to determine this, since potentialities may be hidden not only from others but from the individual himself.

            The Lonely Crowd (189:240-241)

      

Although Riesman is an astute, almost prophetic observer of the social scene, he fails to really grasp the implications of the Group. Certainly he describes trends that we can observe around us, trends that influence the Group to its depths. He does identify a dynamic that is important for our investigation. While he terms this process as “emancipate”, we may call it personal or social growth. The Group, however, is a much more broadly ranging experience. All are welcome to participate effectively, not only the economically privileged. Other Direction is a part of the Group but so is autonomy. Tradition certainly has an influence. Anomie and Inner Directed values are often expressed by members. It is a strange and potent mix where Group participants are not set on tracks, equipped with radar or gyroscopes, but encouraged and listened to by other members attempting to understand one another in all their autonomy, anomie, adjustment, or experiences not so easily categorized. In the end Riesman is describing The Lonely Crowd not the true Group. Like McLuhan he writes about mass culture and misses the internal workings, the relatedness we humans feel for one another.


Shortly after the publication of The Lonely Crowd, Paul Goodman published a book on a related topic. In Growing Up Absurd (83) Goodman focuses on the disaffected and alienated youth of the middle and late 1950s. In contrast to most established socio-cultural studies of the time, studies viewing these young people from a distance, he inquires about the ingredients of a society which would give rise to a basic aimless posture of a person coming to maturity. One of the problems he cites is the lack of membership in a personal community. Post World War II Britain also had similar movements of young people. This theme echoes the subject matter of Colin Wilson’s Outsider series, including Religion and the Rebel. Wilson, who vivadly describes the pressures experienced by the creative individual in the face of a conformist society, was the fountainhead of British Angry Young Men of the 1950s, somewhat equivalent to American Beats. Numerous novels and films were written and produced about “outsiders”, usually about alienated adolescents. Continuing Goodman’s descriptions of American culture:

Instead, the present tendency is to impose on the countryside a new corporation style altogether, in the form of shopping centers (=national chain supermarkets) on the highway.  This works out disastrously for the communities, for these “centers” are not centers of villages, and there cease to be villages at all, simply family houses…
            This is the end of a long process of disruption, for in any case the industry is gone, the men work in plants thirty miles away. It is possible to travel many miles even in New England and not see a single activity a man could make a living at, except automobile agencies and filling stations; not even a food store. The schools are too large and centralized. The families tend to move away frequently, but even while they are put, they are driving around.  This does not make much community to grow up in.

            In more primitive societies, a chief community activity is working together, thatching a roof, net fishing.  But with us, precisely this co-operative labor, for instance the work in a factory, is removed from its community setting and emptied, by the relations of production, of any community spirit.

         Places that have no shape have no face-to-face functioning, for the shape is the functioning community. The loveliness of so many hamlets in Europe is that they have shape and are built of local materials by local craft. Perhaps the people had to cluster to attend early masses. In Ireland, where they farm out the back door, the rows of thatched houses line both sides of a little street. In France, where men go off to the farms, there may be a square. In our own early New England villages, where congregational and political spirit was strong, there was a common green with public buildings, though the families lived scattered on farms they worked. There was the shape of a community with its economy, its crafts, and its ideas. The advantages of growing up in such a community in ones early years is evident. It is not family supervision, on which the physicians of juvenile delinquency are now laying such stress; quite the contrary! it is the family does not have to bare the burden of teaching the culture. In a community, everyone knows the child face to face. There is an easy grading of overlapping ages, right up to the adults who are going about their business in a going concern, and not paying too much attention to the children. A good city neighborhood works in the same way.

Growing Up Absurd (83:109-111)


Although this is only one of many disruptive trends Goodman identifies within American society, it is an important one for the study of small Groups. It is precisely this sense of community that the small Group may lend to its members.  A Group may easily be a first person community made up of members who live within a geographic area whose population is well over a million people.

          The sobering effect of both Riesman’s and Goodman’s studies is that they are still, over twenty years after publication (now half a century and counting! revised ed.), relevant to the society we see around us.  This is reflected in the lines of folk-rock poetry:

      people used to get together round a fire

      fishes were cooked

      songs were sung

      moonlight used to

      guide our way home in the dark

      do you find it hard remembering

      and still you people tell me

      life is easy getting on with

      but what i’ve got so far

      s’nuff to be going on with

      people tell me that it’s so

      i don’t know anymore

      i don’t know

      people used to get together round a problem

      eyes were looked at

      tongues were true

      people used to say how do you do

      do you find it hard remembering

      and still you people tell me

      life is easy getting on with

      but what i’ve got so far

      s’nuff to be going on with

      people tell me that it’s so

      i don’t know anymore

      i don’t know   

      people used to spend an hour making tea

      easy easy was the rule

      people used to pause to think and contemplate

      he who hustled was the fool

      and still you people tell me

      life is easy to get on with

      but what i’ve got so far

      s’nuff to be going on with

      people tell me such and such and so and so

      i don’t know any more       

      i don’t know.

              Donovan Leitch, People Used To

It is not so surprising that these expessions of social criticism are fresh today as we look back into our historical records. Over twenty-four centuries ago Greece was undergoing a transition from a democratic state, a culture we still consider to be a highly creative and experimental epoch, to one of a more centralized and, ultimately, military governmental structure. Plato recorded and elaborated on many discussions taking place at that time. These “dialogues” were between members of small groups of people. Although Socrates is often portrayed as the central character or the host and stimulator of these discussions, with other participants as passive listeners, I do not believe that it would be presumptuous to assume that much of the free flow and give-and-take of a Group discussion has been concentrated into brief summary statements. Ellenberger in his Discovery of the Unconscious (59:41) has traced the tradition of psychotherapeutic schools of the West (growing from philosophical gatherings searching for Truth, following Pythagorus’ Brotherhood) to the Academy which was established around these Socratic dialogues.

          While Bach and Stoller (196:222) are given credit for the invention of the modern marathon group, in The Symposium Plato presents a record of a Group of Athenian intellectual friends that lasts the better part of the night. The topic is the nature of Love, highly relevant to Group formation. Each participant addresses the Group with his views. From the few comments between each presentation, we see that the participants are encouraged by the rest to excel in his speculations. (Yes, it was all men. Happily and healthily, women are welcome in our Group—encouraging other types of organization and communicational developmental qualities that don’t seem to surface as often in discussion by men alone. More of women’s perspectives to come.) There is criticism and competition but also joking and good humored encouragement in their comments. Many different perspectives and views of Love are presented: qualities, sources, generation, mythical views, and especially relevant beneficial effects for society and individuals. Plato credits and reports in detail all participants’ contributions to the development of the theme of the evening, while true to form, Plato emphasizes Socrates’ presentation as its culmination. If I dare to court the ridiculous by attempting to summarize Socrates’ conclusion in one sentence: The fulfillment of our Love through relations and affection with or to others makes us whole.

          Significantly, while the modern marathon (interesting Greek name!) is an attempt to break down the participants’ defenses and intellectual processes, the rational Greeks end the discussion when the irrational forces brake through in the form of drunken revelers. Only Socrates remains to talk with the intruders. (Thanks to William Barrett, Irrational Man, for pointing this out.) Unfortunately, Plato does not leave us a record of the contents of this conversation, but the night seems to come to an end when Socrates becomes the center of attention, a sort of cult of personality overwhelms the Group conversation, and finally a gay admirer (as we would now describe him) seems to corner Socrates, interfering with any other Group discussion.

          The earliest Christians also emphasize the small Group, basing this tradition on meetings of Jesus with his twelve disciples and the ritual of communion. Their time was also one of general social dissatisfaction, even upheaval. In contrast to the earlier Greeks, members of these first Christian Groups practice the development of non-rational experiences, promoting beneficial and healthful effects. They also are more inclusive—men and women. The records which have been preserved of these meetings describe the cultivation of the experience of the Holy Spirit and include the cure of various afflicted individuals. While The Bible describes these works as miracles, modern students of the comparative studies of the practices of faith healing, psychotherapy, and psychosomatic medicine show that these profound individual changes can be understood to result from approaches similar to those developed in some types of modern psychotherapy. Leslie Weatherhead in Psychology, Religion, and Healing (243), and Jerome Frank, whose work we will study in more depth later [Persuasion and Healing, (53)] are examples of therapists and practioners who, along with literary essayist and researcher Norman Cousins The Anatomy of an Illness (43, 44) and Herbert Benson (15, 16) who studies the benefits of meditation, prayer, and “remembered health”, give extensive illustration of these relationships. 4

            The early Christian community is described by the author of the Book of Acts:


They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, to break bread, and to pray. A sense of awe was everywhere, and many marvels and signs were brought about through the apostles. All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common: they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required.  With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy, as they praised God and enjoyed the favor of the whole people.  And day by day the Lord added to their number. 

New English Bible, Acts 2:42-47


The dual emphasis on community organization with its binding rituals: the breaking of bread and communion, and the cathartic expression of feeling leading to ecstatic experience and a new improved life, influenced later small groups such as the Pietistic and Hasidic groups of the Nineteenth Century (11, 164, 197). Finally, this same pattern is found today as an important process in groups whose emphasis includes a healing transformation. 5

          Unfortunately, most of the writings of the early Church focus on the exhortations and the sermons of the principal leaders as well as their tribulations. Our purposes would be better served by records of the meetings, how the members supported one another and even challenged each other, focusing once again on personal transformation within the Group. We can infer that the church grew rapidly and the small Group meetings were replaced by larger mass experiences ending the emphasis on the personal Group where each member was valued.

          This shift from small groups to larger organized experiences with less personal emphasis seems to have happened a number of times in Western history. Mowrer writes that Confession originated in a small group setting. It was later shifted to a ritualized event complete with booth and secrecy (159:123). 6


On the other hand, modern group therapy seems to have developed in reverse order. Joseph H. Pratt is considered to be one of the founders of group therapy with his Tuberculosis Class. The goals of these classes were to instill hope and alleviate secondary symptoms for patients suffering from T. B. The treatment for this disease, early in the 20th century, was a long, uncertain convalescence that consisted of waiting in quarantine. Attitude, specifically hope, had a great deal of effect on the ultimate remission. The class included didactic lectures by the doctor to the patients, relaxation techniques, and testimonials by patients. After a number of years Pratt broke the audience up into smaller discussion groups. Many modern self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Recovery, Inc., Weight Watchers, etc. can trace their roots back to Pratt’s pioneering group treatment approach. Fields of psychosomatic and holistic medicine have been stimulated by this therapeutic outlook [Cf. Chapters by and about Pratt in Group Psychotherapy and Group Function, (196), and The New Group Therapies, (197)].

Transformation in the Group, then, is a study about the transformation that is potential of small groups. There are certain features of Groups and certain experiences in which members participate that lead to and is this transformation. The inquiry culminates with a description of a workshop series that I developed in which Group transformation is a central approach to learning a highly specialized interpersonal skill.


          Part I is titled Foundations and consists of a detailed literature review focusing on Group transformation. At this point we have surveyed little clear data on what a Group is, whether it is several individuals and no more, a microcosm which reflects trends radiating throughout society, or an entity with unique properties of its own. The first section of Part I (Chapter 1 ) is the examination of theory regarding Group formation.

          The second section of Part I ( Chapter 2 ) is a review of relevant clinical and research studies particularly emphasizing the processes of healthy change that may take place within a Group.  The emphasis in this chapter is on the development of criteria to enable evaluation of our transformation and its benefits. The fear and anger some people express when confronted with the possibility of becoming members of a group should warn us that groups are not a priori healthy.  The public awareness of cults whose members have participated in bizarre, destructive, and disastrous actions—often appearing almost mindless or entranced—both demonstrates the power of interpersonal dynamics that support group phenomena as well as the consequences when the direction is toward impersonal crowd control and violence rather than healthy growth. The research review bears these points out.

            Part II is the Approach presenting certain theories, philosophies, and techniques which I have found to be effective in developing a Group transformation. In a broader sense, this section of the study represents my own training and subsequent experiences facilitating Group transformation. It is from the concepts and experience of the Approach that I develop the workshop described in the final two chapters of this study: the Application.

            The first section of Part II (Chapter 3) is a report of the philosophy and theories of Dr. Wallace T. McAfee who, with his wife Edna McAfee, led a continuous Group from 1960 until his death in 1978. The McAfees had been missionaries in China in the 1920s for the Presbyterian Church. Later he served as pastor for several churches in the U. S., retiring in the late 1940s. Both trained for and practiced as licensed psychologists. I had training, supervision, and therapeutic experience with the McAfees over the course of eight years.

            Chapter 4 concentrates on Psychodrama. This is an action oriented technique in which the philosophy and theory cited in Chapter 3 is practiced in the Group to allow members to apply the Group transformation to their lives beyond the Group. In many ways Psychodrama has the property of ritual which brings the energies of the Group to converge on particular social situations that are in certain ways difficult for members. Details of the Psychodramatic method reported in this chapter, following from the theory in Chapter 3, illustrate my own training with the McAfees as well as methods and techniques which I found to be effective in facilitating transformation in the Group—this during five years of experience in Group leadership at the Neuropsychiatric Unit of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. In this time I led in-patient Groups, Family Groups composed of several in-patients with their families, and training Groups with staff.

          Part III is a report of an Application of Group transformation. These chapters detail a six-week Crisis Intervention Workshop that I developed for staff training. Consequently I taught and led this workshop many times for staff members of the Psychiatric Unit and the Emergency Room at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

          Crisis Intervention involves transformation as it involves more than just learning certain theories and rules about emotional crisis. Intervention counselors come to enter a crisis, experience it, and engage the client in the process of resolution. As such, we are undergoing not one experience among others but one that includes and ultimately transforms all others. The Group offers a particularly powerful environment to teach, learn, and practice these skills.

NOTES      Introduction

1   Number in parentheses is reference numbers in Bibliography: (238) is Webster 3rd International Dictionary etc. If there is a colon, number to right refers to a specific page number. As an example: (153:6) is reference entry 153, McLuhan, Marshall and Fiore, Quentin. Medium is the Massage, a Catalogue of Affects. New York: Bantam, 1967. Page number is 6. (As of January, 2016 the reference numbers are inaccurate. I am in the process of reorganizing the Reference-Bibliography.) 


2    Charles T. Tart in Altered States of Consciousness (218) has collected a wide variety of reports of methods and experiences. These include meditation, hypnosis, dreams, psychedelic states, bio-feedback, among others. Although these reports seem to involve ‘transformation’ of self and world, alone their temporariness lends them the property of isolation from the realm of continuing social experience. While they definitely may inspire change, they are often only introductions to lasting transformation. Erika Fromm, in a later follow-up study on these issues: “ The Nature of Hypnosis and Other Altered States of Consciousness: An Ego Psychological Point of View” (79) has described various applications to psychotherapy and educational procedures. She also describes the importance of continued practice for ongoing improvement.

3    Reviewing the situation in 2013 it appears that Riesman’s Inner Directed Personality has had a resurgence in the political-economic sphere of the United States and much of the Western world. The consequences of regression to previous developmental stages seems evident, when new directions are called for. 2016 update: The U. S. presidential race has seen a surprising number of candidates who meet the criteria in expression, if not actual life style, of this personality type. Note late 2016: Our ‘newly elected’ (by less than popular vote) President! This must show that this personality type is attractive to a sizeable minority of the populous of the U. S. On the other hand, an equally sizeable minority seem to be very unhappy and even fearful. Recently several people that I have talked with have reported apocalyptic themed dreams and, of course, many of the religious groups that supported the new Prez emphasize the book of Revelations. Much more about social anxiety and ‘End Times Religion’ in the coming chapters. Riesman includes but underemphasizes environmental effects. Pivoting with these apocalyptic scenerios of the followers of the Inner Directed is understanding or denying (ignorance of) the science that demonstrates the effect of climate change on the development or decline of human culture, both historically and in the present.

           Riesman’s personality descriptions are brief introductory generalizations of a field that is extremely complex and often controversial. Personality theory is a foundation of clinical psychology for both diagnosis and evaluation of health. While the DSM of the APA (6) is the standard for description of psychiatric difficulties, a study done in the 1950s by Timothy Leary (as director of clinical research for Oakland Kaiser Hospital—before his rebirth as an acid-guru): Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality (131), provides extremely detailed descriptions of 16 social interactional personality patterns. He arranges these 16 personality types in a circular, wheel-like pattern with 3 level descriptions of behavior for each type. Both socially constructive as well as problematic—pathological interpersonal expression of each type is described. As an example, the Managerial-Autocratic and the Competitve-Narcissistic have beneficial qualities for leadership and organization, but as disordered expression, they become dictatorial and authoritarian. The types across the wheel are complimentary; they “pull” their opposites, in this case Self-Effacing Masochist and Docile-Dependent, respectively. These people become followers. In a healthy society they realize the goals of the leaders, but in the case of disorder they approach becoming the mob or an unquestioning militancy. Many studies of the authoritarian personality were done after the Second World War when awareness of the extreme destructive demands of Hilter and even our ally Stalin which included the atrocities and holocaust as they became public knowledge. It is not only the authoritarian leader, but the unquestioning followers that bring, what I term, the psuedo-group experience to grief. Riesman seems to have summarized the Managerial-Autocratic and the Competitive-Narcissistic qualities in his Inner Directed Personality. He does not describe the multitude of followers. Some Outer Directed Personalities may fit into this category, but many respond to one another—the crowd that will be described in chapter 1—not only the managerial type. Review of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostis and Statistics Manuel (6) brings a question: What happened to the Authoritarian-Autocratic Personality who encourages so much social difficulty and disaster? Americans don’t like this guy (usually a guy), so we ignore him? This theme will weave itself throughout this study.



4    The Greeks also had ecstatic traditions expressed in their dramas and their various cults. The bacchanal or Dionysian Mysteries and the Elusinian Mysteries were the most popular, both agricultural themes. The former cult centered on Bacchus, also named Dionysus, who was the god of the vineyard, wine, revelry, creativity, and “the exceptional” [Walter Burkert: Greek Religion (23:161-167)]. His admirers would enter into an ecstatic state similar to what we may describe today as a ‘rave’, only more extreme and violent. This may have been induced by wine and entheogenic fungi or herbs from native grasses, but often by only sustained dancing and singing, probably accompanied by verbal agitation and invocation—recitation of the legened. There were many variations on this cult throughout Greece at different times. In its most extreme form, women would work themselves into a frenzy, tear live animals apart, and devour them, in acting out the myth where Dionysus, himself, is torn apart and devoured by these his devotees. There are even stories of these ‘maenads’ dismembering a local king. This ‘group’ activity appears to be an example of mob mentality and was, if anything, an example of a destructive psuedo-group. These activities were reflections of some of the tales about Dionysus and later, Orpheus. [Cf. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology (93) and Bullfinch’s Mythology: The Greek Myths (24)]. In contrast, the Eleusinian Mysteries possibly also used psychedelic-like substances with elaborate sacred ritual, considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime beneficial experience. Many of the luminaries of Hellenic Greece: artists, sculptors, dramatists, writers, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, and politicians, participated in them. The Eleusinian Mysteries continued to be celebrated for many centuries and were so hallowed and important that they were never fully publicly revealed. The Mysteries, along with annual local festivals, were celebration in honor of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. Her story (and ours) is entwined with the fate of her daughter Persephone, who was abducted and married by Hades, one of the three principle brothers, the most powerful patriarchal deities, he being the ruler of the sphere of the dead that bares his name. When Persephone was first abducted, Demeter went into an extreme mourning reaction and all life on earth began to wilt and die. The tale describes the devastation in gruesome detail. Zeus, the eldest ruling brother and the most generally powerful, interceded to save the human race. He is often referred to as Father Zeus, humankind’s protector and benefactor. Hades was allowed to claim his wife during a third of the year and we experience Demeter’s sadness at this loss: late Fall and Winter. In contrast, she celebrates her daughter’s return with the Spring! These Mysteries and festivals celebrate and honor Demeter and Persephone’s reunion from the underworld with the profusion of life that seems restored at this time of year, symbolic of the joy of this event. The local festivals also celebrated the harvest in the Fall. They did not take place in a small group environment. The one known attempt to reproduce the Mysteries in a small group by an individual with his friends ended in scandal. {R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofman, and Charles Ruck research the true mystery of the Eleusinian ritual. [The Road to Eleusius (229)].} Carol Gilligan summarizes the Mysteries with a feminist perspective [In a Different Voice (81)]. Bertrand Russell discusses Dionysian and Orphic cults, their place in the development of classical Greek thought, influencing and promoting the development of philosophy and science. In his survey of such a rational pursuit as philosophy, Russell emphasizes the ecstatic experience as a source of insight and creativity. [History of Western Philosophy (201:13-20)]. In his follow-up illustrated coffee table! history of western philosophy Wisdom of the West Russell describes the influence of science and mysticism on one another: “Nietzsche called these two elements the Apollonian and the Dionysiac. Neither alone could have brought forth the extraordinary explosion of Greek culture... serenity on its own is just as incapable as mysticism, of causing an intellectual revolution...What is needed is a passionate search for truth and beauty... A lively curiosity, bent on passionate yet disinterested inquiry, this is what gives the ancient Greeks their place in history” (202:13). The Nietschean dialectic: Apollonian and Dionysiac, continues to find its way in interesting applications in the 20th century. Ruth Benedict bases her anthropological cultural description on these as organizational types in her Patterns of Culture (15) and Spiegel and Spiegel Trance and Treatment: Clinical Use of Hypnosis identify the Apollonian and Dionysian as extreme polarities in styles of entrance into hypnotic trance. They develop a third that they name Odyssian which is somewhat of a blend or medium but also more practical and common. Most of us fall into this range with individual, selective use of the other two more extreme styles when needed or desired. Apollonians tend to be very concrete, logical, even skeptical, while Dionysians participate whole-heatedly with imagery, story and belief. Suggestion may be tailored to an individual’s style, or even sometimes, to how he or she is feeling at a particular time (214).

           The development of Christian ecstatic tradition was probably influenced by these Greek ceremonies according to studies done by classicists such as Friedrich Nietzsche (The Birth of Tragedy); Károly Kerenyi and Carl Jung (Science of Mythology); Joseph Campbell (Masks of God: Vol. I); Ernst Cassirer (The Myth of the State); and Mircea Eliade (Image and Symbol). Both of the Greek cults mentioned above as well as later cults centered on Orpheus were expressions of individuals, some considered divine some semi-divine, who descended and spent time in Hades then returned to our world. Even Homer told of Odysseus being required to journey to Hades before he could return home. These heros had mixed success in their journeys to the underworld. Jung and his allies see an allegory of the psychotherapeutic process in these archetypal stories, the basic pattern of which is not exclusively localized to Greece or the Mediterranean area but is recounted in the many hero and trickster tales of cultures throughout the world {Carl Jung [Man and His Symbols (116), Two Essays on Analytic Psychology (114)]}. Medical anthropologist Melvin Konner, who has a very intimate experience with the !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert, demonstrates connection of trance-dance ritual to shamanic healing ceremony [Why the Reckless Survive...and Other Secrets of Human Nature (121)]. An internet viewable video of this ritual is available on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern; Travel Channel (254). In Chapter 1 this study and the video will be referred to again as example of the initiation of Group mind.


5    Cf. Chapter 1, Part 3, sections about Frank’s and Odum’s studies for discussion of certain parallels between modern encounter groups and Protestant Pietistic and Jewish Hasidic groups. Chapter 4 of this study includes a discussion of Catharsis and its relationship to emotional healing, both ancient and modern. Alfred North Whitehead comments on the relationship of ritual to emotion in   Religion in the Making (244:21): “Ritual goes back beyond the dawn of history. It can be discerned in the animals, in their individual habits, and still more in their collective evolutions...emotion waits upon ritual; and then ritual is repeated and elaborated for the sake of attendant emotions. Mankind became artists in ritual...”


6    Studies in the sociology of religion show that there is a common progression from leader centered small groups to a schism among the close followers of the original leader. Each of these second generation leaders often claim to be the ‘true’ disciple of the original leader. These groups often ‘progress’ to a larger less personal organization. Anselm Wach: Sociology of Religion (226:39-40), describes a continuous dynamic between small groups with a more personal focus and the larger religious organizations whose members number in the thousands or even millions: “As a more elaborate and complicated system of cultic practices develops, the expanding need for experts leads to a reservation in principle or in practice of certain cultic acts and to the formation of a body of functionaries who take over and in fact monopolize certain activities in the cult... Private and public cultus ...symbolize the unity of life in city-states.” Freud’s Group Psychology and Analysis of the Ego (73) studies the group psychodynamics of this process, relating it to Love and the dialectical relationship to the violent expressions of introjection and incorporation represented by many rituals such as the cult of Dionysus mentioned above, this being a mythic representation of canabalism and human sacrifice which even surface in modern religious practices. The control of this potential violence is the cement with which civilization is built. Freud’s perspective toward groups will be reviewed in Chapter 1.