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The Sibling Relationship A Force for Growth and Conflict by Joyce Edward

The Sibling Relationship A Force for Growth and Conflict


The Sibling Relationship A Force for Growth and Conflict by Joyce Edward

This book focuses on the role that siblings play in each other's development, on the ways in which they may enrich or cast a shadow over each other's lives, and on how their internalized influence can be recognized and dealt with in the clinical setting. Drawing from observational research and clinical experience, Joyce Edward considers how brothers and sisters, as important attachment figures, may contribute to each other's development of a sound sense of self and to their capacities for establishing satisfying social relationships. Edward also examines how excessive sibling envy, jealousy, and rivalry or physical, sexual or emotional abuse at the hands of a sibling can impede an individual's development and contribute to pathology. Detailed treatment examples demonstrate how essential it is to give siblings a place in the therapeutic situation, to recognize them not only as displacement figures for parents but also as persons who hold an important place in the minds of patients, exerting influence on the way they relate to their mates, their children, their friends, and their therapists.


With strong scholarship, an astute, well-exercised clinical eye, and an even hand, Joyce Edward opens more richly and widely than I have seen to date the multiple functions, both negative and positive, siblings serve in our lives. She rightly observes that in our clinical and theoretical universe, the topic has too long been marginalized by constructs we have perhaps centered too exclusively, failing to take stock of how siblings enrich or burden us and our patients as they help mold who we and they become. Edward, with much clarity, makes a strong case and contribution to what, in our clinical work, we all need to better take into account. A decidedly worth to have book. -- Henri Parens, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia There is a special warmth about this book perhaps because of the author's style and clarity, perhaps because of the subject matter which is so welcome because of long neglect, perhaps it is because most of us will bring personal recollections to the reading of the volume. In any case this is a most welcome and important book for all who work with people. Relationships between siblings are studied from many perspectives both normal and pathological. The lingering influence of death of a sibling, illness or developmental problems is discussed and case studies are presented to demonstrate treatment implications. This is an important book that belongs in the library of all practitioners and in the reference materials in schools of social work. It is even interesting enough to be read by anyone who has a sibling, as well as those who wish they did. -- Florence Lieberman, DSW, PhD, Hunter College School of Social Work and National Academies of Practice The sibling relationship deserves a more prominent place in psychoanalytic treatment. Joyce Edward's book is an invaluable contribution, illuminating the complexity of the sibling attachment and its significance as a force for individual development. Encyclopaedic in its scope, this book is broad as well as deep. The reader can read it as if it were a smorgasbord, selecting chapters on cultural considerations, changing family structure, foster care, adoption, new reproductive technologies, sibling rivalry, sibling sexuality, siblings with special needs. All have numerous clinical vignettes. I would urge all clinicians who care about their work to have this book in their professional library. -- Sharon K. Farber, PhD, New York University School of Social Work A clinical social worker who has practiced psychotherapy with a psychoanalytic orientation for more than 25 years, Edward here focuses on the role siblings play in each other's development in order to demonstrate the necessity for therapists to give siblings a place in the therapeutic context. She begins by focusing on sibling attachments, which provide not only security but also an internalization of interpersonal exchanges that influences how they relate to others throughout the life span. Subsequent chapters address such issues as the impact of the wider culture on sibling relationships; the impact of envy, rivalry, and hatred, which can lead to pathology; sexual activity between siblings; and the influence of a developmental disability or serious illness on the sibling relationship. A chapter addressing the effect of the death of a sibling on surviving brothers and sisters was especially interesting. Blending findings from case studies with results from quantitative research and information revealed in memoirs, biographies, and even fiction, Edward builds the case that therapists ought to give their patients
siblings a place in their treatment efforts. Summing Up: Recommended

. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, general readers. A comprehensive review of the literature on siblings, such as Edward has laboriously amassed, provides the perfect foundation for engaging in the kind of integrative thinking about siblings that has been largely missing from our literature, and thereby contributes a theory of sibling relationships that is broad, psychological and clinically useful... This is a worthwhile contribution. Moreover, the many intriguing examples across the volume, the clinical focus and the select strong chapters make this book worth reading for those who want a sample of the range of clinically relevant ideas on siblings. For those who want more than a sample, this book provides a good place from which to launch an in-depth investigation of the wide-ranging literature on the sibling relationship. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis

About the Author

Joyce Edward, MSSA, has practiced psychotherapy and psychoanalysis for more than twenty-five years. She is the co-author of Separation-Individuation: Theory and Application and the co-editor of Fostering Healing and Growth: A Psychoanalytic Social Work Approach and The Social Work Psychoanalyst's Casebook: Clinical Voices in Honor of Jean Sanville.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th January 2012


Joyce Edward

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Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers


246 pages


Family psychology



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