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Jools, P. (2012). Children of Oedipus. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(2):198-214.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(2):198-214

Children of Oedipus

Penelope Jools

An understanding of developmental anxieties can provide a way, both to locate the developmental level at which a family/couple is functioning, and to track their progress as therapy proceeds. This paper focuses on oedipal anxieties provoked by the impact of a third on the couple's relationship; in one case a child, in the other, a legacy. In both cases the more obvious oedipal issue was that of inclusion and exclusion. The paper argues that an earlier lack of containment, and transgenerational traumas of loss and abandonment, amplified and exacerbated later oedipal anxieties, creating a stuck and destructive situation. Some resolution of these oedipal difficulties occurred in therapy that both provoked these anxieties in the transference by the presence of the therapist as a third, and offered an experience of containment.

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