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Berman, L.E. (1978). Sibling Loss as an Organizer of Unconscious Guilt: A Case Study. Psychoanal Q., 47:568-587.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 47:568-587

Sibling Loss as an Organizer of Unconscious Guilt: A Case Study

Leon E.A. Berman, M.D.


A case is described in which the death of a sibling in childhood organized a profound unconscious sense of guilt, a repetitive need for self-punishment, and a negative therapeutic reaction in analysis. The various meanings of the patient's negative therapeutic reaction are discussed, along with the question of why this event came to have such pathologic impact on his character.

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