29-03-2016 at 19:26

Key Concepts from Patrick de Maré developed by Teresa von Sommaruga Howard

Teresa von Sommaruga Howard
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In this text you will see key concepts from Patrick de Maré developed by Tereasa von Sommaruga Howard: Outsight - Transposition - Median group - Culture - Mind and Dialogue. 

Outsight: “Whereas insight is the inwardly oriented expansion of consciousness, outsight refers to the outward expansion of social consciousness and thoughtfulness” ….


Outsight: “Whereas insight is the inwardly oriented expansion of consciousness, outsight refers to the outward expansion of social consciousness and thoughtfulness” (de Maré in Lenn and Stefano, Karnac, 2012, p.129).

Transposition: replaces transference as it involves cultural situations and contexts as distinct from referring to individual people.  Transposition refers to the Gestalt background that is brought to the fore against which the multi personal network operates. Transposition also occurs when people in groups create subcultural climates consisting of unconscious rejected fantasies and frustrated parts of themselves and produce atmospheres that are neither realistic or gratifying” (de Maré, 1991, pp.103 – 4).

Median Group: Definitely not medium or medium sized!  The term Median Group comes from the word Median in English meaning ‘in the middle' or 'space between'.  In Group Analytic terms it refers to the group between the large group and the small group or between society and the family; the community, where it is possible to get a word in edgeways and practise being able to speak in the social domain.  My view is that the distinction between these three groups comes from the size of the circle and the room in which the circle is located rather then the number of people in the group is my idea and experience

Culture: From de Maré: “Culture is the outcome of a dialectical conflict between the individual system and environmental ‘reality’” (p. 79).  Culture refers to the context that human beings create in contrast to nature, which is natural (p. 75).  "It is not the individual that is unconscious but the culture that does not allow the thought to be voiced" (p. 77).  The median group and the large group "sets out to discover the very essence of thought, mind and culture" (p. 77). Thinking is cultural rather than natural.  It needs to be learned.

Mind: comes from the Norse word (mynde, which is equivalent to ‘vote’).  Culture is the ‘group mind’ meaning grouping of minds.  Social and cultural are “polar opposites in a state of dialectical tension.  It is this tension (hate) that activates dialogue”.  “It lies in the encounter between mental processes and society of which culture is the outcome, a multipolar network as distinct from a triadic dialectic” (de Maré, 1991, p. 81).

Dialogue: means through the word.  “Dialogue is a continuous critique of language” (p. 44).  “It has the following properties: It has the fullness and precision of the analog as distinct from the binary digital form; it functions without final truths; it has the continuous evolvement of a totalizing system; it is a general way of interacting; it concerns connection, relatedness, wholes, both structures and systems, and it Is not only dependent on dialectic process of thesis and antithesis; it is tangential with nuances of relation and meaning, including pauses and silences; it is concerned with continuum, not simply with boundaries; it allows for different communications taking place simultaneously; it both influences and is influenced by atmosphere and cultural context; it can be open, free-floating, untamed, evocative, and proactive, empathic and rich in ambiguities, full of non-verbal meanings, with poetry, timing, style, quality, complexity” (p. 47).  “Like dreams dialogue often appears disconnected, accepting the most violent contradictions without objection and disregarding knowledge that carries great weight in other situation” (p. 149).


De Maré, P. Piper, R. & Thompson, S., (1991).  Koinonia: From Hate, through Dialogue, to Culture in the Large Group.  London: Karnac .

Lenn, R., & Stefano, K., (2012). Small, Large and Median Groups: the Work of Patrick de Maré. London: Karnac.

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