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Jacobs, T.J. (1988). On Having an Adopted Sibling: Some Psychoanalytic Observations. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 15:25-35.

(1988). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 15:25-35

On Having an Adopted Sibling: Some Psychoanalytic Observations

Theodore J. Jacobs


This paper explores aspects of the psychology of children who have an adopted sibling. Analytic work with two such children revealed that conflicts and fantasies related to the issue of adoption played a central role in their psychopathology.

The adoption question tended to condense and focus a number of important issues that were already present in these cases. Chief among these were the special place in the family accorded the biological child, the feelings of omnipotence and entitlement that characterized his self-concept, and the extraordinary strength of his oedipal conflicts.

Uncertainty in these children concerning their parentage also contributed to the clinical picture as did fantasies that eliminated differences in origin between their adopted siblings and themselves.

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