Twinship and alter ego selfobject transferences in group therapy with the elderly: a reanalysis of the pairing phenomenon

L. M. Lothstein, G. Zimet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


In this paper, by using the perspective of self psychology, we hope to illustrate and explicate (through clinical examples) the positive aspects of the pairing phenomenon in group therapy with the elderly. Traditionally subgrouping or pairing has been viewed as the 'Achilles' heel of group therapy,' and usually interpreted as defensive and destructive to group process. In this paper we distinguish between those instances of pairing and subgrouping that are defensive and those that are reparatory of the self system (the latter involving twinship and alter ego selfobject transferences). These reparatory transferences may play a constructive role in establishing group cohesion and allaying primitive somatic anxieties, especially in the elderly patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Group Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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