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Frank, K.A. Bernstein, K. (2013). “Complexity, Complexity, Complexity”: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Adoption. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):1-9.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):1-9

A Note From the Guest Editors

“Complexity, Complexity, Complexity”: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Adoption

Kenneth A. Frank, PhD and Kim Bernstein, PhD

As we undertook this special issue of Psychoanalytic Perspectives, our purpose seemed clear, though we didn't know quite what we would find as we delved into the subject of working with adoption in psychoanalytic treatment. Both of us have personal ties to adoption, and one of us (KF) significant professional experience with it; we knew going in that adoption is not seamless under the best of circumstances, that the issues are extremely complex, and that it doesn't always seem to turn out as well as we might expect or hope. We also wondered about the changing face of adoption in the wake of sweeping social and medical/technological change over the past 50 years—why are birthmothers placing children for adoption today, for example, versus in the pre–Roe v. Wade years of the 20th century? And what about same-sex couples seeking to raise families, with or without biological ties to their children?

Fundamentally, we recognized that there is a dearth of literature to guide the psychoanalyst involved in treating members of the adoption triad (or constellation) and wanted to add to that information. This approach assumes, of course, that adoption creates particular treatment needs—an assumption worth testing—and that a good number of analysts are therefore not aware of, or sensitized to, many of the relevant issues. All told, it seemed a compelling project, to want to contribute something clarifying and useful for clinicians working with patients whose lives had been shaped in some way by adoption.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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