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Miller, L. (2004). The Oedipus Complex as Observed in Work with Couples and Their Children. J. Child Psychother., 30(1):39-52.

(2004). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 30(1):39-52

The Oedipus Complex as Observed in Work with Couples and Their Children

Lisa Miller

In work with couples where there is a child referred to a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, there are opportunities to observe and to work with unresolved Oedipal issues brought by the parents to the task of creating a family. These conflicts can be seen enacted by the child or children, either internally or externally. Examples are given from five cases: the first two from brief family work where the children are under five and the difficulties are to some extent resolved. The next two demonstrate more intractable problems of psychopathology where the parental Oedipal conflicts are handed down to the next generation, and the paper concludes with an example of couple work in relation to individual therapy with a child, where despite the pressure of considerable pathology in the parents' backgrounds there is a will to integration and progress is made.

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