Tom Ormay is indeed a rara avis: philosopher, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and group analyst, he has produced a startlingly new concept, that of the 'social self', a fundamental property of humankind, which is rooted in instinct. He calls it the 'nos', the 'we', which co-exists with the 'I', the individual ego. In so doing, he expands our vision of who we are. It is a concept towards which many thinkers have been groping, but which has only now crystallised in Ormay's writings. With a lightness of touch and a generosity of spirit, he has tapped a vast expanse of literature, including state-of-the-art biology, to bring his concept to fruition. His writing is infused with optimism and passion. He dispenses with the traditionally dry structures of learned texts and invites the reader to join him on a journey that is at once personal and immensely erudite. --Harold Behr, consultant psychiatrist, training group analyst, and former editor of the journal Group Analysis
Tom Ormay invites us to travel into the philosophy of psychoanalysis and group analysis. He examines Freud's group thinking and its restrictions, Ferenczi's pre-figuring of aspects of group analysis in the 1930s, Elias' influence upon Foulkes, and Foulkes's outline of radical group analytic aspects that had outgrown psychoanalysis' tripartite theory of mind. He introduces us to nos as a substitute for superego and makes it the reason for developing egos to join others in 'nos', our elemental social function. In unfolding the concept of 'nos', Tom Ormay lays open a changed way of seeing ourselves in the world. He goes further than Foulkes's questioning of where the Individual came from; he points out ego's essentially isolated status, the 'me-against-the-world' pitch that is endorsed by psychiatry as the 'sine qua non' of social sanity whereas he hints that it is a madness to assert this. Instead he posits that nos provides us with a collective configuration that provides for the individual and gives him and her what as an Individual he or she otherwise lacks: a place in the world of people, and in the cosmos, thus avoiding the chaos of man alone and unredeemed. --Kevin Power, Consultant Group-analytic Psychotherapist for CNWL NHS Trust, London, and Principal Psychotherapist, Kent & Medway NHS Trust
This excellent book is timely as, until now, we have not had the vocabulary to describe what the revisionist psychoanalyst George Klein called for fifty years ago: a word to denote the 'we-ness/us-ness' that is fundamental to human existence. Ormay presents the Latin word 'nos' to meet that need. He preserves but widens the structural tripartite psychoanalytic theory - id, ego, super-ego - with this fourth factor. This forges the essential but, until now, missing link for Foulkes's group analytic perspective that we are social to the core. At his own core, Ormay has philosophy, science, and psychotherapy. He writes clearly and concisely; he quotes beautifully from both English and Hungarian sources. He conveys the sweep of Ferenczi and the Hungarian school of psychoanalysis, which has given consideration to the social, cultural, and scientific factors for which Freud had not found place. The move to a psychology of the self, exemplified by Kohut and others, has enlarged psychoanalytic theory. Ormay now renders a similar service to group analysis. --Malcolm Pines, FRCPsych., DPM, past President, International Association of Group Psychotherapy, and former Consultant, Tavistock Clinic, London, and Maudsley Hospital, London
A. P. Tom Ormay has been a psychoanalytic psychotherapist for the last forty years and a group analyst for the last thirty years, in private practice. He has taught in the Royal College of Art and in Goldsmith College in London, and also in various professional institutions. Presently living in Hungary, he is teaching in the University of Physical Education Budapest, in the John Wesley Theological College Budapest, and in the University of Szeged. He is a member of the Institute of Group Analysis, London and the Group Analytic Society, London. He is the editor of the journal Group Analysis.