We present a translation of a text by Anzieu from 1984, published in Kaës’ book Le travail de l’inconscient. In this text, Anzieu touches on many aspects of the group psychoanalysis of his time and this allows us to grasp the theoretical and technical evolutions of this discipline. The essay opens with a brief introduction by Kaës, who points out how the method defines in a negative way what it cannot know, recognise and therefore transform: this is the key to approach and understand the whole text. Anzieu opens the text by examining the interaction between the group participants, the conductor and the observer: depending on the developmental level, the group may react with persecutory or depressive experiences. Therapists must be careful not to idealise the group as a total omnipotent or partial fetishistic object, and thus not to fall into the illusion that the group can do everything. The author goes on to discuss different techniques of group leadership and outlines possible interactive scenarios, often persecutory and conflictual, that groups themselves and their leaders unconsciously enact with and/or towards the institutions in which they are embedded. The institutions, in turn, can determine and condition the very existence of the groups and their destinies. For the author, the temporary creation of a transitional space in which to build a group psychic apparatus, intermediate between the individual and the institutional one, which makes possible the symbolisation, catharsis and perlaboration of the conflicts experienced between therapist-group-institution, becomes fundamental.
Keywords: ; Observation; Group illusion; Group psychic apparatus; Institution; Transitional analysis; Perlaboration