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LETTERS
The self in group work


The article on psychoanalysis in social work ("Coursework," June/01) vividly reminded me of the one seminar I took from Bruno Bettelheim (Theory of Group Work) when I was a master's student in anthropology in 1956. I can still hear his distinctive voice telling us that we had too much knowledge and too little skill, so his goal was to affect our "attitude." This involved confronting us with a series of readings and cases involving ethical dilemmas, and questioning us about how a "decent person" would act in such situations. His goal was to make us aware of the degree to which we unconsciously defended our selves (the "I," not the "ego") against threatening aspects of reality.

Although Bettelheim has been widely criticized, I feel that this seminar and a course of his I audited (when I should have been preparing for my exams in anthropology) were the most significant learning experiences of my Chicago studies.

Philip K. Bock, AM'56
Albuquerque, New Mexico


 


  AUGUST 2001

  > > Volume 93, Number 6


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