Group-as-a-Whole Theory Viewed in Its 20th-Century Context
AbstractGroup-as-a-whole theory is an applied branch of group dynamics research and theory. It evolved in the heart of a century punctuated by 2 world wars. These wars and the sociopolitical climate that fostered them provided historical context and clinical impetus for group-centered approaches to psychotherapy. The contributions of Wilfred Bion, S. H. Foulkes, and Kurt Lewin are recalled in light of the historical context in which their work evolved and the currently active and vital body of theory and practice that may be traced to their efforts. Two fundamental themes are emphasized: (a) the perennial tension between individual and collective needs and (b) the equally ubiquitous tension between authoritarian and democratic patterns of group life.