The proliferation of therapeutic groups, either self-help or professionally staffed, has dramatically expanded the applicability of psychotherapy. This development reflects society's increased willingness to deal communally with personal problems that were previously restricted to private psychotherapeutic sessions. Gestalt group therapy, with its original emphasis on the freshness and pungency of individual experience has also extended its perspective to group work. Dr. Miriam Polster describes how the gestalt approach enlivens group focus and interaction through its principles of awareness and experiment-and especially through its attention to the quality of the contact between group members.
The development and function of the self's capacity for intimacy is described through infancy, childhood and adolescence. The normal process of achieving intimacy is outlined. The illusions of intimacy of Disorders of the Self are then described with detailed clinical presentations of each diagnostic category. The therapeutic interventions necessary to deal with these defenses are then outlined.
As human beings age, we are bombarded with losses: of our professions, businesses or jobs; homes; health; ideals; friends; family members and partners. This address will offer special techniques, usable in brief or long-term therapy, to help aging clients find ways to honor their losses as well as their own integrity, as they continue to grow and to savor life.