Collective Guilt as a Force for Change

Amy Fraher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Systems psychodynamics scholars and practitioners believe that when people assemble for a task, two forms of mental activity occur simultaneously: The task-oriented work group and the anxiety-fueled basic assumption group. Much has been written about the dynamics of basic assumption groups yet relatively little research has examined the work group or the space between configurations, what Winnicott might have called the ‘potential space’ between one identifiable group position and another. The following paper addresses this gap by hypothesizing that under the right conditions an instinctive, developmental push— an unconscious sense of guilt—may propel some basic assumption groups’ swing back to work mode. Areas warranting further research will also be identified.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • collective guilt
    • group violence
    • systems psychodynamics
    • Wilfred Bion
    • basic assumptions


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