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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Working with Sibling Issues
With Prophecy Coles, Vivienne Lewin, Sarah Mandow and Elspeth Morley

Saturday 2 July 2016

09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Elspeth Morley
(Replacing Juliet Mitchell’s presentation)

Sibling Position in the Family: a multiplicity of consequences
With the support of recent neuroscience and clinical observation we have come to recognise that the horizontal relationship of siblings usually exerts a crucial influence on the quality of the vertical maternal attachment. However, it has been less clear that both dimensions tend to be heavily dependent on the position in the family. Stereotypically, the first-born loses the position of “Majesty the Baby”, sometimes traumatically, to the later-born sibling, who in contrast faces from birth the older sibling at the maternal knee. It is this first child, rather than the father, who is often experienced as the “intrusive third”, threatening their one-to-one parental attachment. Elspeth Morley will explore the way the staircase of alternate horizontal steps and vertical risers continues from one generation to the next, appearing with particular resonance in the unconscious mutual projection of couple choice, often with first-borns choosing later-borns, in a way that may integrate or perpetuate earlier sibling relationships.
11.00   Coffee
11.30   Vivienne Lewin

The Twin Enigma
Twins are siblings of a particular kind with their own unique dynamics that begin before birth and that create an indelible twinship. The prenatal and early postnatal preverbal somatic experiences between twins will endure in the twin relationship as a binding unconscious sensate memory in both of them. Our fascination with twins is based on deep unconscious factors within ourselves emanating from our earliest experiences, that we project onto twins. Perceptions of twins dictate how twins are treated in literature and various cultures throughout the world, modern and ancient, where twins may be idealised and regarded as gods, or despised as evil harm-bringers and murdered. Given this understanding, how do we work with the twin in psychotherapy, and what does this tell us about sibling dynamics in general?
12.30   Discussion
12.45   Lunch (Included)
13:45   Prophecy Coles

The Sibling Transference
In this talk Prophecy Coles will reflect on how she stumbled upon the idea, when she was working as a psychotherapist in the late 1980s, that an un-realized sibling transference might be creating a block in a stagnating therapy. She will revisit the difficulties she faced in the light of the dearth of analytic literature at that time on the concept of a sibling transference in adult psychoanalysis. She will end her talk by looking at some of the most recent literature on sibling relationships and consider the way that there is more general acceptance that these early relationships leave an indelible imprint upon the psyche.
14.45   Tea
15.00   Film showing: Hidden Twins, by Olivia Lousada
15:10   Sarah Mandow

Sibling rivalry and the murderous mind
For the young child, the arrival of a sibling profoundly changes everything: the one who was the baby until then is no longer; that emergent self has been annihilated. On the other hand, there is the exciting discovery of ‘someone like me’ or a replica self. This tension is the source of the powerful love-hate ambivalence between deadly rivalry and intense identification that is the mark of siblinghood. For the fragile ego this can become insuperable obstacle to a mature loving relationship; the murderous impulse, often played out in phantasy, characterizes the entrenched rivalry and identification of many troubled adult siblings. This presentation looks at a case in which the phantasied murder becomes a reality when a sister is actually murdered, raising some important questions about the impact of external reality on the internal trauma of that sibling relationship.
16.05   Discussion
16.30   End

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Early bird: £110 (Sold out)
Self-funded: £130 (Sold out)
Self-funded x 2: £190 (Sold out)
Organisationally-funded: £220 (Sold out)

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6.5 hours will be provided at the event

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:00 Coffee
12:45 Lunch
14:45 Tea
16:30 End