Portuguese Group-Analytical and Group-Analytical Psychotherapy Society


(Ex- Portuguese Group-Analytical Society -PGAS)



The Portuguese groupanalytic movement began in 1956 through the efforts of Professor Doutor Eduardo Luis Cortesão when he was admitted as a Full Member of the Group-Analytic Society of London, and after he started his training at Maudsley Hospital, in 1954 and being appointed as psychiatrist at the Royal Bethlehem and Maudsley Hospitals in 1955.


Professor Doutor Eduardo Luis Cortesão started as groupanalytic study group in 1958 and five years later, a Department of Groupanalysis was officially established within the Portuguese Society of Neurology and Psychiatry because of heavy political constraints due to Salazar’s Dictature.


Finally, in the year 1981 it was the establishment the Portuguese Groupanalytic Society (PGAS).


The main activities of PGAS, includes the preparation and training of groupanalysts.


The PGAS has played a decisive role in the establishment of groupanalytic therapeutic practice in Portuguese Hospitals, Hospital Militar Principal, as well in Drug Adicts Treatment Centers, Prisons and other Judicial Institutions.


The PGAS has also contributed, to the training of health professionals (doctors, psychologists, medical students, nursing staff, social assistants and occupational therapists).

The PGAS has a site in the web (www.grupanalise.pt), in two languages (Portuguese and English) and it includes: national and international news, an on-line journal, reports and comments on a variety of activities, bibliography, scientific events, research etc., and also basic information about the all different types of members.

In 2011, it have decided at AGM to change his rules and purposes to a wider society to embrace all types of group analytical activities under the designation of Portuguese Group-Analytical and Group-Analytical Psychotherapy Society (PGAS&GAPS)

The prime concern of the Portuguese Group-Analytical and Group-Analytical Psychotherapy Society (PGAS&GAPS) has been to inculcate rigorous standards in training and professional practice in groupanalysis and group psychotherapy, the provision of training for groupanalysts and group psychotherapy, the maintaining of contacts with international peer organisations, thus ensuring that advances and research into the theory and practice of groupanalysis and group psychotherapy are publicized and encouraged.


“The Contribution of Professor Eduardo Luis Cortesão for Portuguese Groupanalysis”

(from César Vieira Dinis cited in PGAS WebSite)


“The decisive contribution of Eduardo Luis Cortesão to groupanalysis in Portugal resulted in its acquisition of a well-defined practical-technical singularity, enabling the broadening of the groupanalytic model beyond the original limits set for psychological treatment in a group situation, and  reaching different areas of human activity which he enriched with this new focus through a widening of their operational capacity.”


“The groupanalytic process, as I have been led to define it,… includes in an all-embracing manner, the whole of psychoanalytic theory  –  and presupposes, in this way, both technical and clinical considerations from metapsychological formulations to the fine detail of object relations, within a specific group situation – different, albeit not contradictory, to the dual situation of psychoanalysis.” (Cortesão) never content with the chance reliance on a brilliant therapeutic intuition and rare clinical sense, Cortesão always went to great pains to endow groupanalysis with the scientific credibility of a coherent and sound theoretical basis, submitting the hypotheses gleaned from observations in the clinical laboratory offered by the group undergoing analysis, to the criteria of pragmatic validation conferred by the therapeutic results.


In this way, he established concepts and defined fundamental technical procedures which constitute what is generally defined, in the field of groupanalysis, as the “Portuguese School”.


Of special note from among these concepts are:

·       The groupanalytic process

·       The groupanalytic pattern: “the nature of specific attitudes which the groupanalyst transmits and sustains in the   groupanalytic matrix, with an interpretative function which encourages and develops the groupanalytic process. The therapeutic elaboration which ensues favours the aim of inducing meaning and differentiation of the individual self” (Cortesão) He developed this concept at the workshop in London in 1967, namely, during setting out of his ideas on the matrix.

·       Levels of Experience and  Interpretation in Groupanalysis.

·       Commutative Interpretation

·       Fulfilment through the Negative and Creativity through the Negative.

·       Aesthetic  Equilibrium in Groupanalysis

·       Differentiated Therapeutic Action

·       Transference Neurosis in Groupanalysis. Ist European Symposium on Groupanalysis held in Estoril in 1970.


Transference Neurosis exists in Groupanalysis and its eventual  resolution is  sought.


The Portuguese School of Groupanalysis

  • theoretical and technical particularities


The Portuguese School of Groupanalysis developed from the work of Eduardo Luis Cortesão and it is different in certain aspects from other European and American Schools (EUA, Brazil, Latin America) of groupanalysis and group psychotherapies of analytic grounds.


That is to say, concepts such as matrix, pattern, transference and counter-transference in groupanalysis and levels of interpretation, were developed by Cortesão.


The matrix constitutes the specific network of communication, relationship and elaboration which, through integration of the analytic pattern, foments the evolution of the group analytic process.


The pattern rests on the nature of specific attitudes which the groupanalyst holds and transmits, as interpretative function, within the groupanalytic matrix and which encourages and develops the group analytic process.


Transference is the repetition and reformulation of the needs and fears of infancy which appear in the groupanalytic scenario.


Groupanalysis presents us with a range of levels of experience and interpretation:

  1. Individual subjective experience
  2. Multiple subjective experience
  3. Associative communication
  4. Genetic-evolutive interpretation
  5. Developmental interpretation
  6. Interpretation of meaning
  7. Interpretation of creativity
  8. Interpretation in transference
  9. Commutative interpretation

Interpretation in groupanalysis is, almost always, construed with respect to each individual member, within the group context


Transference establishes itself gradually and requires time to emerge. It may acquire displaced characteristics (lateral transference). There may occur transferencial movements toads the group as a whole, towards other members of the group or towards the groupanalyst.


Conditions for Admission:

To be admitted into the Portuguese Group-Analytical and Group-Analytical Psychotherapy Society (PGAS&GAPS) the candidate must have been involved in  Group Analysis with a Recognised  Tutor- Group Analyst (see Portuguese Group Analysts) for least two years.

The following degrees are accepted as minimum curricula requirements:

·       Medicine and experience in Psychiatry,

·       Psychology and experience in Psychiatry,

·       Occupational Therapy and considerable experience in Psychiatry,

·       Social Services and considerable experience in Psychiatry,

·       Anthropology and considerable experience in Psychiatry,


In the case of other higher education degree there must be ample evidence of professional activity in the area of psychology in mental health and/or psychiatric services, widely recognised within the highest standards of probity.

The candidate should direct to the Board a request for admission as Candidate-Member whereupon a list of recognized tutor group analysts will be provided. The candidate must then complete six interviews and present his/her curriculum for consideration.

If the feedback of the interviews is positive, the candidate may then attend a training course lasting for 4 academic years.

During the third year, the candidate may apply to begin group analytic practice, including mandatory supervision by a Tutor-Group Analyst

Admittance to ordinary membership necessitates the completion of the training course, the public presentation of a  clinical paper on group analysis and the approval of six Tutor-Group Analysts following an interview and curriculum assessment, as well as the clinical supervision by a Tutor-Group Analyst (mandatory requirement for group analytic practice from the start).

Full membership is only granted after a minimum of three years as ordinary member and implies,  besides curriculum assessment, the satisfactory completion of personal analysis and the public presentation of an original theoretical-practical paper.


The training demanded of a group analyst is as follows:

  1. Didactic Group Analysis

This should be done on the basis of three weekly sessions, in a mixed group, with a Tutor-Group Analyst, for a period of at least six years.

  1. Training Course on Group Analytic Theory and Technique
    This consists of supervised study groups plus clinical seminars organised by the Society. Course duration of four academic years.
  2. Group Analytic Practice
    The candidate may conduct group analysis groups, group analytic psychotherapy groups (a single weekly session) and analytic orientated individual psychotherapy as from the third year of the course.
  3. Supervision
    This should be done by someone recognised by the Portuguese Group-Analytical and Group-Analytical Psychotherapy Society (PGAS&GAPS) (Full-Member- Tutor).

(cited from PGAS WebSite)