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Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: The Setting of Psychoanalytic Family Therapy. Jean-Pierre Caillot and Gérard Decherf. Pp. 1421-1434.. Psychoanal Q., 61:145-146.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: The Setting of Psychoanalytic Family Therapy. Jean-Pierre Caillot and Gérard Decherf. Pp. 1421-1434.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:145-146

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: The Setting of Psychoanalytic Family Therapy. Jean-Pierre Caillot and Gérard Decherf. Pp. 1421-1434.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

This article deals with the changes of setting necessary for psychoanalytically oriented family therapy. The authors consider this therapy a form of group analytic

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therapy. Their definition of "setting" is the space of arbitrary invariants set up by the analyst as necessary for the appearance and unfolding of the psychoanalytic process. It is a transitional space between bodily, social, and physical reality on the one hand, and symbolic space on the other. It is ambiguous, because it belongs simultaneously to two orders, the real and the symbolic. Free association is the rule of the setting for family therapy. Here, however, the fundamental rule is an invitation to speak freely, rather than an injunction to omit nothing, thus preserving the possibility of individual secrets. Family therapy is not for neurotic families, in which differentiation and separation have been achieved. The aim of family therapy is to lead more disturbed families into an organization that is closer to that of the neurotic family. Because psychotic and psychosomatic phenomena are important in such families, the family members are invited to speak of their daydreams and their dreams of the night. The rule of abstinence is applicable also, in that the therapy is a verbal one. The family members are invited to speak, to think, to fantasize, but not to seek solutions concerning the day's realistic problems. The rule of abstinence is different for families, however, because there is one major difference in family therapy and psychoanalytic group therapy: the family group remains together after the session is over. The setting in family therapy becomes a shared group fantasy of the maternal container, permitting and containing the most primitive condition for the transformation and elaboration of primitive affects and omnipotent fantasies in the family members. The setting facilitates formation of symbols, inviting the patient to express his or her fantasy life verbally and freely, reducing the extent of somaticized as well as motoric discharge. The setting also permits a regressive interaction between the family members on a family level. The regression induced by the setting is massive and can extend to the most archaic experiences, even to narcissistic object relations.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984. Psychoanal. Q., 61:145-146

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