Some are More Equal than Others: Oedipus, Dominance, and the Family Caroline Garland, Speaker

Some are More Equal than Others: Oedipus, Dominance, and the Family

Speaker:  Caroline Garland
Caroline Garland is a Psychoanalyst in private practice and a Consultant Clinical psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic in London. She has had a long-term interest in group dynamics and in psychoanalytic group therapy, which she has practiced and taught for many years. She is the author of the book “Understanding Trauma,” and has written more than 20 articles on the understanding and treatment of post-traumatic conditions.

This paper examines the universal human tendency to position the self in relation to others within a dominance hierarchy, perceived in terms of a range of characteristics involving power and status. She suggests that the origins of dominance behavior lie in the early Oedipal situation, and can be either perpetuated or modified by the presence of
a peer or sibling group.

The paper offers detailed clinical material from a therapeutic group to draw attention both to the Oedipal configurations liable to be stirred up in the group arena, and to the role of the peer group, or the siblings, in modifying or assuaging its more extreme expression. The paper proposes a link between Bion’s Work Group and the relatively stable and cooperative form of society represented by egalitarian functioning; and Bion’s Basic Assumption groups, which function hierarchically. Families as well as stranger-groups are capable of functioning in the two modes described above. When siblings have to deal with the arrival of a newcomer, a defensive identification with a cruelly repressive parental object can create a paranoid-schizoid regime, fostering a hierarchical grouping characterized by struggles for dominance. However, parental authority, necessary when children are small and vulnerable, can also provide a relatively benign and more productive style of management, with ‘the good of the family/group/society’ as its given task. This offers a different model for behavior and consequently for relationships between siblings. A leadership position, whether in families or groups, that recognizes difference while maintaining equality, contains the potential for learning from experience, with the chance of change and growth as the outcome.
February 1, 2008    8:30 PM
Goldwurm Auditorium, Mt. Sinai College of Medicine
Madison Avenue and 98th Street, New York, New York

No Fee    Refreshments will be served.

Allan Frosch                       Anni Bergman & Carolyn Ellman
President                       Program Committee Co-chairs

Program Committee: Kate Bar-Tur, Jeanne Even, Roslyn Goldner, Laurence
Gould, Judy Ann Kaplan, Carol Kaye,
Ellen Sinkman, Neal Vorus, Tracey Strasser Vorus, Florence Williams,
and Arnold Wilson


A Half-Day Experiential Workshop on Sibling Relationships With  Caroline Garland
Consulting Clinical Psychologist, Tavistock Clinic
Psychoanalyst, Private Practice, London
As preparation for this Experiential Workshop, I would ask all prospective members to reflect on their position within their own families of origin. Are you an only child? A twin? What is your place in the family birthorder? Who did you get on best with in the family? Who did you feel rivalrous with? Did you fight? How did your parents deal with rivalries and hostilities? Was there a ‘favorite’ in the family? Are there incidents in your early family life connected with your siblings that stand out as being particularly problematical? Are you still in touch with your siblings? How important are they to you?

The second part of the workshop will be spent in tracing the structures that emerge via these kinds of questions to their existence and role in day-to-day current functioning at home, at work, and in friendships. Are these structures helpful or unhelpful? Are they able to be modified? Are they repeated in any way within the family of creation?
February 2, 2008    9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research
140 W. 97th Street, New York, NY

Fee:     $40 Professionals/Others
             $25 Students and Candidates

Return this form with your payment by January 25, 2008

Mail this form and a check payable to “IPTAR” c/o Ellen Sinkman, CSW;
295 Central Park West, NYC 10024

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