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Waugaman, R.M. (1990). On Patients' Disclosure of Parents' and Siblings' Names During Treatment. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 38:167-194.

(1990). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 38:167-194

On Patients' Disclosure of Parents' and Siblings' Names During Treatment

Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.


The patient's spontaneous disclosure of a parent's name is frequently associated with appearance of core conflicts, especially genetic and transference themes of incest, other oedipal derivatives, and separation anxiety.

Using a parent's first name has the unconscious implication of incest, since one is doing something which one's other parent but not oneself is allowed to do. In some primitive cultures, saying aloud the names of one's parents was strictly forbidden. Disclosing a parent's name to the analyst may parallel the developmental step during childhood when the patient learned the parent had a first name. The child's acquisition of language, including proper names, fosters object constancy and the internalization of the parents, from whom language is learned.

For patients who do not usually refer to a sibling by name, disclosure of the sibling's name may also reflect the concurrent emergence of central conflicts. In particular, such disclosure may accompany associations about an earlier closeness with the sibling giving way to subsequent estrangement. Naming the sibling may also mark an intensification of a sibling transference to the analyst.

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