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Magalhães, A.S. Féres-Carneiro, T. (2015). “The House of the Seven Women”: The Fading of Generational Boundaries in the Family. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 5(1):89-97.

(2015). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 5(1):89-97

“The House of the Seven Women”: The Fading of Generational Boundaries in the Family

Andrea Seixas Magalhães and Terezinha Féres-Carneiro

Underlying the constitution of the “family body” we find the generational past, transmitted and appropriated by successive generations. The family psyche, like the individual psyche, needs to be embedded in a body, which can be thought of as a family habitat, topically represented by the family's house or home. The house operates as a container for intersubjective contents of the family structure, in which family memories, affects, and ideals are deposited. The sense of belonging is constructed through what is lived, shared, and narrated within the family group. In this home environment, generational boundaries can be understood as walls of transmission; these allow the psychic support of the “family body”, operate as a symbolic filter, and therefore enable the individuation processes of family members. In this study, we discuss a family psychotherapy case, in which seven women—members of four cohabiting generations—were treated. This “house of the seven women” suffered from the fading of generational boundaries, evidenced by the women's difficult coexistence in a home marked by non-elaborated or unexpressed traumatic memories. This case was treated by the family psychotherapy unit of the Service of Applied Psychology (SPA) of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

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