Contribution of Professor Eduardo Luís Cortesão to the Portuguese Group Analysis.

In 1956, Eduardo Luís Cortesão was admitted as Full Member of the Group Analytic Society of London.

Soon, in 1956, the Group Analytic Movement began in Portugal. This movement led to the creation of the Group of Studies of the Group Analysis in 1958, and to the Section of Group Analysis of the Portuguese Society of Neurology and Psychiatry in 1963. Finally, the Portuguese Society of Group Analysis was created in 1981.

Eduardo Luís Cortesão contributed decisively to the Group Analysis in Portugal to acquire a clear theoretical and technical singularity. He also led to the expansion of the group analytic model beyond the original limits of psychological treatment method in a group situation. This reached different areas of human activity which enriched with the new approach dilating their operational capability.

“The group analytic process, as I have been defining it … comprehensively includes all psychoanalytic theory – and presupposes, therefore, technical and clinical management, from metapsychological formulations to the particulars of object relations, in a specific group situation. It is different, though not contradictory, situation of the dual situation of psychoanalysis.” Cortesão

Foulkes, Schoutzenberger e Cortesão in England

Never resigning himself to the randomness of a brilliant therapeutic intuition and a rare clinical sensitivity, Cortesão has always expended intense work to endow the Group Analysis with the scientific credibility of a coherent and solid theoretical substrate. This was achieved through submitting deriving hypotheses from the observations in the clinical laboratory offered by the group analysis, to the criterion of the pragmatic validation conferred by the therapeutic results.

Thus he established concepts and defined fundamental technical procedures that conform what is commonly called, in the group analytic field, by “Portuguese School”.

These concepts include:

• Group analytic process,
• The group analytic pattern: “the specific nature of attitudes that the group analyst transmits and sustains in the group analytic matrix, with an interpretative function that fosters and develops the group analytic process. The resulting therapeutic elaboration favours the purpose of inducing the signification and differentiation of the individual self. “(Cortesão) This concept was developed by him at the workshop in London in 1967, namely in his articulation with the matrix.
• Levels of Experience and Interpretation in Group Analysis,
• Commutative Interpretation,
• Realization by Negative and Creativity by Negative,
• Aesthetic Balance in Group Analysis,
• Differentiated Therapeutic Action,
• Transference Neurosis in Group Analysis: First European Symposium of Group Analysis in Estoril in 1970.

Transference Neurosis exists in the Group Analysis and its eventual resolution is sought.
“The concept of Transference Neurosis in Group Analysis – inasmuch as it originates in a different framework – exists, is significant and natural in this new situation … It is different in form and structure, but diverges a little in content and function. It’s different but it’s not contradictory.”
“… the members of the group represent, for each other and in the whole of the situation, a fundamental role as figures of transference …”
“… the intensity, constancy, preponderance and compulsive repetition of ways of acting, thinking and feeling become even more relevant and significant in this situation of transference …” (Cortesão)
“It is important to underline that the internal group of each one is connoted in its origin with the family group.” (M. Rita M. Leal)
Cortesão defended the importance of the frequency of sessions and the duration of Group Analysis, in the establishment of Transference Neurosis.
The Transference Neurosis is of each member in the context of the group, or rather of the matrix of the group. There are therefore “n” transference neuroses, as many as the members of the group.

This is what Cortesão said about the Transference Neurosis in Group Analysis:”… the group is a structure, a mould, a matrix, a forum …. It is neither a psychic entity nor a mental apparatus. … That is why I must insist once again that some current expressions, such as group transference, group resistance, etc. shall serve only the purpose of indicating the situation in which they are technically applied … ”
The impact of group methods, starting in 1956, had originated in the teaching that Eduardo Luís Cortesão taught at Miguel Bombarda Hospital and at the University Psychiatric Clinic of Santa Maria Hospital.
The structures and functioning in the Hospitals and Psychiatric Services were profoundly altered in these areas:

• Teamwork
• Group discussion
• The Day Hospitals training
• The multidisciplinary and multiprofessional approach in the formulation of the diagnosis and therapeutic indication
• Group methods in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education
• Group-based supervision in the training and practice of Social Service professionals
• Group methods in the field of Occupational Therapy

First Direction
Group methods in the curricula of some Nursing schools
From 1956, Cortesão provided supervision in group analytic psychotherapy and Group Analysis in the External Consultation of the Hospital of Santa Maria. Also in 1956, he started the psychoanalytic psychotherapy for psychotic patients, at Miguel Bombarda Hospital.

The teaching of interview methods and Family Therapy with group analytic supervision was initiated by Cortesão in the late 50’s.

The University Service of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the New University of Lisbon, was established with Cortesão as a model of teaching, research and training that privileged the group analytic dimension.

Since 1985, in collaboration with the Institute of General Clinic of the South, Cortesão implemented a training plan for General Practitioners.

In 1988 he managed to establish a protocol of cooperation between the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Lisbon and the Ministry of Justice that he supervised. It was this protocol that led to the creation of the Department of Mental Health of the General Directorate of Prison Services and the Clinic of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Regional Directorate of Prison Services in Caxias.

Dr. César Vieira Dinis