The author describes the psychoanalytic large group as radically opposed to the dyadic intimacy that is typical of individual psychoanalysis. Within a large group, personal contacts with each group member cannot be established simultaneously: apparently psychotic anxieties ensue which are similar to those experienced in infancy and primitive defense mechanisms are used. Therefore, deeper psychic levels become visible within the large group, which also acts as a link to Group Psychology and the psychopathology of large human gatherings. Whereas a small group reproduces a typical family context composed of father, mother, brothers and sisters, within a large group specific conditions arise evoking archaic societies. Starting from Freud’s Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, the author sheds light on large groups’ specific dynamics as seen by the Ego Psychology, the Object Relations Theory and Self Psychology, with personal hints derived from his own clinical experience.
Keywords: Psychoanalytic large group, Psychotic anxieties, Primitive defense mechanisms, Ego Psychology, Object Relations Theory, Self Psychology.