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Sinkkonen, J. Keinänen, M. (2008). Bridges over troubled waters: A Relational Approach to Fatherless Boys and a Male Therapist. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 31(1):38-49.
   

(2008). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 31(1):38-49

Bridges over troubled waters: A Relational Approach to Fatherless Boys and a Male Therapist

Jari Sinkkonen, M.D., Ph.D. and Matti Keinänen, M.D., Ph.D.

Many children in need of psychotherapy are latency-age boys who have little or no contact with their fathers. Their problems typically include low self-esteem, identity problems, depression, difficulties in peer relationships, and aggression. Clinical material illustrates that the consequences for the child of fatherlessness depend on many factors, among them the mother's attitude to the father and other mature males. If the mother devalues all men, her son has little space to grow into a healthy adult. The male therapist may be experienced as a threat to the mother-son union, which may render his efforts to help the boy fruitless. If, in contrast, the mother's experiences of her own father and other men are more positive, her pride in her son's masculinity may strengthen his need to find support for his male development. These observations are discussed as affecting the capacity for triadic object representations in mothers and sons.

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