Conference Honorary Presidents; The founding Fathers of Group Psychotherapy in Egypt
Yehia Rakhawy,M.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatryt, Cairo University
A Brief Account on the Beginning of the Foundation
and Spread of Group Psychotherapy in Egypt:
The true beginning in this field was launched by the thoughts and efforts of two truly great Egyptian professors of psychiatry: Professor Yehia Rakhawy and Professor Mohamed Shaalan in 1973. It was then developed and spread through teaching and training of many generations of practitioners on such therapy till the current time.
Professor Yehia Rakhawy (1934) is the emeritus professor of psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University. He is a man of profound, comprehensive and creative perspective, with authentic and profuse production in psychiatry, literature and literary criticism. In addition, he has a persistent and continuous concern with the general Egyptian affairs through writing and effective participation in different media including social media.
In group psychotherapy, and since the beginning, his general approach in theory, practice, teaching, training and research was “The Integrative Approach”. An approach that combines the major general theories in psychology and psychiatry with reference to the roots deeply ingrained in the Arabic and Islamic culture, both official and folk.
Mohamed Shaalan,M.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Al Azhar University
Professor Mohamed Shaalan (1937) is the emeritus professor of psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Azhar University. Though he had started in joint work with professor Rakhawy, the difference in theoretical and clinical approach both in general psychiatry, and group psychotherapy in particular, was then bound to emerge as he got in direct contact with the western culture, especially that of the United States of America.
In addition, the degree of impression with the Arabic Islamic culture was another factor that affected both theory and practice of both parties. Professor Shaalan was specifically interested in the study of folk practice of group activities (like those related to Sophie gatherings). He studied the possible different relations between such folk group activities and group psychotherapy.
To conclude, the foundation of group psychotherapy in Egypt is indebted to these two scientists, with two different schools in therapy, each having its own students and followers. We can say with enough confidence that without both of them and their joint effort in the beginning and their differentiation in later times, the existence of this type of therapy would have been delayed in Egypt and that we would have not had such an abundance of students of both schools working at their utmost efforts to develop and spread this type of therapy in Egyptian Universities and all other institutes that might be concerned.
Prof. Noha Sabry
Dr. Ahmed Dobea
Dr. Azza Abdellatif