Why There is No Body in Group Analysis: Exploring the Role of the Body in Group Work

    Saturday 30th January 2016 - 10:00am – 4:00pm
    The Institute of Group Analysis
    1 Daleham Gardens, London, NW3 5BY

    Lawrence J. Ladden
    Jale Cilasun

    Irrespective of Foulkes' articulation of the body being an aspect of the foundation matrix it remains rare for the body to be acknowledged and even less so to be explored within its sentient and sensitive aliveness. While all range of human experience from family, nationality, sociality, and culture are given voice the foundational base of the body is largely ignored.

    Our body provides the foundation for feeling, emotion and language production — all basic elements of group analytic dialogue. While body sensation can be framed as “personal” it is the body’s human, animate, and sentient impersonality that unites us. While communication is essential to the dynamic matrix, our capacities to see, hear, touch, taste, smell, move, and feel provide the texture of all relational communications.

    We will work in a Group Analytic approach (J. Cilasun) to explore the theme of the body with the group dialogue of group analysis. We will contrast this dialogue with a much more circumscribed exercise from the Contemplative Group Dynamic (L. Ladden) model* so as group analytic practitioners we may, through the experience of the Contemplative Group see some potentialities to develop the group analytic practice in a way that incorporates the experience of the body as foundation matrix. The challenge is to approach sociality and culture in a manner that does not lose the polyglossia** of the immediacy of language manifesting through the body.

    The workshop will consist of talks, experiential groups and discussion. We will explore:

    • the interrelation of mindfulness of body and feeling with speech and listening of group analytic dialogue;
    • the difference between descriptive speech of present moment body experience vs. conceptual, social cultural speech; and
    • how there may be limitations and potentials for each of these modes of speech, and also how they may inform one another.

    * CGD is a formal expression of group mindfulness practice, theoretically grounded in classical buddhist psychology which includes a psychology of both individual and group subliminal habit patterns. These patterns are said to be inseparable from language usage.

    ** A term introduced by Bakhtin to denote the multiple voices

    Lawrence J. Ladden, PhD, CPsychol. is a Clinical and Health Psychologist. He teaches mindfulness at the LOC (Leaders in Oncology Care) and is an external supervisor at the Maudsley Hospital. He served as a senior instructor with the Penn Program for Mindfulness of the University of Pennsylvania Health Care System in the United States from 1998 until 2013. Lawrence has practiced mindfulness since 1974 and has formally trained and worked with groups since 1981.

    Jale Cilasun, BM, MRCPsych. is a Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical Psychotherapist at South West London and St. George’s NHS Trust, London, since 2001 where she also serves as the Training Programme Director in Medical Psychotherapy Specialists Training. She is a group analyst, with training responsibilities at the Institute of Group Analysis, London. She incorporates mindfulness practice into her clinical team work.


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    30 Nov

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