The author proposes a critical reading of an article where Donald Fairbairn ex-presses his point of view on the rehabilitative function of group psychotherapy. The author begins by contextualizing Fairbairn’s article in its own historical period, which was characterized by Bion and Foulkes’ discoveries at Northfield’s. Follow-ing an article by Hinshelwood, the author utilizes the characteristics of the work of the latters as an example of two particular dimensions of group psychotherapy, that of treatment and that of rehabilitation, which are compare in Fairbairn’s arti-cle. Fairbairn essentially proposes: 1) that patients who have a compromised rela-tionship with the group they belong to benefit more from rehabilitation interven-tions than from treatment interventions; 2) that group psychotherapy has a preva-lently rehabilitative nature. To comment on Fairbairn’s work, the author then pro-poses to analyse the concept of rehabilitation both as something that supposes to manifest the limits of group psychotherapy and also as the expression of the weight of external reality in group psychotherapy.The author is especially con-cerned with the usefulness of thinking about reality as a presence inside of a sub-ject’s mind; the author proposes that starting from this point of view would make it more clear how rehabilitative intervention and group psychotherapy work to re-establish a dialogue between a subject and the reality outside and inside him.
Keywords: Fairbairn, Rehabilitation, Reality, Sex offender, Northfield.