Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Brothers and sisters, Oedipus complex, Self psychology, Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939, Kohut, Heinz, Theoretical, Siblings


In psychotherapy, psychodynamic theory informs a large part of clinical practice. Throughout time, the prevailing theories have been largely devoted to exploring the parent-child relationship and its influence on development. A noticeable gap in the existing psychodynamic literature is in respect to the unique complexities of the sibling. The intent of this thesis is to further synthesize, explore, and contribute to the relatively small body of psychodynamic literature that addresses the sibling relationship. By the use of two very different major theoretical orientations, this thesis emphasizes the distinct, powerful, and mutual influence of siblings on development. It demonstrates that conflicted or unresolved early sibling relationships can come to influence adult pathology, personality presentation, and transference in the clinical setting. Thus, by advocating for the separate and continued consideration of the horizontal axis, this thesis reinforces the demand for greater attunement to siblings in both a theoretical and a treatment context.




iii, 102 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 94-102)