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Canham, H. (2003). The Relevance of the Oedipus Myth to Fostered and Adopted Children. J. Child Psychother., 29(1):5-19.

(2003). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 29(1):5-19

The Relevance of the Oedipus Myth to Fostered and Adopted Children

Hamish Canham

Although the Oedipus complex has perhaps been more written about than any other concept in psychoanalytic theory, the aspect of the original myth to do with Oedipus being an adopted child has received much less attention. This paper explores the myth from this perspective and also looks at the impact on him of the events that led up to his adoption —his early abuse and abandonment by his birth parents. Through a detailed examination of the myth itself and using a clinical example, the paper considers the hugely daunting task often encountered by fostered and adopted children in coming to know the circumstances of being unable to live with their birth parents. The very particular difficulties associated with the working through of the Oedipus complex in this situation are discussed.

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