Siblings play an integral and essential part in our psychic development. Traditionally in psychoanalytic thinking, sibling relationships are regarded as secondary in developmental importance to the relationships with the parents. The authors in this book challenge this view and explore the impact of sibling relationships on internal psychic structures, family and social relationships. They suggest that siblings play a primary part in psychic development, even for an only child, and that infants are born with an expectation of siblings, an innate pre-conception similar to those relating to the breast and parental couple. Through infant observations and psychoanalytic treatment, the authors in this book examine sibling relationships from the most profoundly close, as in conjoined twins, through other twin and sibling relationships and deliberate on the wider context of social and tribal brotherhood and sisterhood.
Freud’s early psychohistory may have influenced his focus on parents as the primary recipients of incestuous desires and murderous impulses. This lively book redresses the relative neglect of siblings in psychoanalysis. With great sensitivity and clinical expertise, the authors unfurl narratives of early passion, catastrophe and intrigue between siblings, offering insight into twin transferences, and the neglected sibship roots of peer transactions and social battlefields – Professor Joan Raphael-Leff, Psychoanalyst; Leader, Teen-Parents’ Project, UCL/Anna Freud Centre, London.
‘Sibling relationships are fundamentally important: in themselves, as models for later relationships, and as essential elements of our inner world. The contributions to this fascinating volume document some of the implications in relation to psychoanalytic theory; clinical work with adults, children and groups; infant observation before and after birth; and sociology. Readers will find a rich source of stimulating ideas on theory and clinical practice.’ – Maria Rhode, Professor of Child Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic/University of East London.