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Lansky, M.R. (1992). Foundations of Object Relations Family Therapy: Edited by Jill Savege Scharff, M.D. Northvale, NJ/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1989. 488 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:282-286.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:282-286

Foundations of Object Relations Family Therapy: Edited by Jill Savege Scharff, M.D. Northvale, NJ/London: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1989. 488 pp.

Review by:
Melvin R. Lansky

Family therapy emerged in the early 1950's, in the heyday of postwar ego psychology, as an attempt, largely by psychoanalysts, to study psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia in particular, which were viewed as adaptations to a disturbed family environment. Of the early pioneers in family therapy, Don Jackson in Palo Alto, Theodore Lidz and Stephen Fleck in New Haven, and Murray Bowen and Lyman Wynne in Washington D.C. were psychoanalysts. The early researchers probably began the family therapy movement in reaction to seeing the malignant effects of identifying only one person in a dysfunctional system as pathological. The movement over time became increasingly hostile to medical models, to professionalism in general, and to individual psychotherapeutic orientations, especially psychoanalysis.

The remarkable and persistent mutual mistrust between psychoanalysis and family therapy that has existed over the last forty years has begun to thaw, however slightly. Even models of infant observation and development have recently gone from a one-party to a familial frame of reference. A case in point is the current emphasis on "attunement" and on the quality of maternal and paternal relationships with infants, rather than on the child-centered Mahlerian model of stages of separation-individuation prevalent a few years ago.

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