The Oedipus Complex, Creativity and the Legacies of Group Relations

The Oedipus Complex, Creativity and the Legacies of Group Relations

Sher, M. (2015). ‘The Oedipus Complex, Creativity and the Legacies of Group Relations’ Intellectual Parents’. In: E. Aram, R. Baxter & A. Nutkevitch (Eds.). Group Relations Work: exploring the impact and relevance within and beyond its network. Volume IV. Pg. 3-20. Karnac, London.


This chapter highlights two key conceptual elements developed by Gordon Lawrence that are core to our understanding of group relations conference dynamics and which are often ignored – Oedipus and sphinx. It is argued that focusing on these two concepts should help distinguish between resolutions of conflict with authority based on the paranoid-schizoid position and those based on the depressive position. In the paranoid-schizoid position, resolution is based on victory of one party over another; in the depressive position, resolution is based on the acceptance of difference that includes tolerating weakness without withdrawing from the group process. This is especially relevant where the group’s purpose is learning (Sphinx) and not a struggle over power and dominance (Oedipus). This chapter also links understanding of these two concepts in group relations work to its application to social thought and social behaviour outside the group relations network.

An extract available to read here.

The book in which this chapter appears can be purchased from Karnac Books.

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