Collectively authored by psychoanalytic colleagues of multiple nationalities, ages, genders, religious origins, and meta-theoretical persuasions, Besides Family goes far beyond the usual orbit of parents and siblings. Casting a wide net, the contributors look at a number of key figures who may affect an individual’s psychic development and functioning. Each character receives a full chapter which highlights both the beneficial and adverse possibilities within these relationships.
The book opens with a chapter on nannies, tracing the centuries-old history in the West and focusing on four renowned psychoanalysts: Sigmund Freud, Sándor Ferenczi, John Bowlby, and Wilfred Bion. Next comes a discussion of neighbours, using material from religious texts, fiction, and poetry. This is followed by a chapter on childhood playmates and friends, which examines the nature of friendship and how it develops across the lifespan. School teachers come next, using literature on teacher–student relationships synthesised with psychoanalytic developmental theory. Clergy is the next subject of discussion, blending Judeo-Christian religious customs with psychoanalytic developmental theory. The developmental significance of adolescent peers is examined next using a blend of neurophysiology, endocrine studies, behavioral observations, social–cultural vectors, and psychoanalytic insights. A discussion of lovers and the myriad ways in which romantic relationships mirror early development is the penultimate chapter. The book ends on the role of mentors and the evolution of the mentor–mentee relationship, taking into account the impact of age, race, and gender.
The authors integrate material from history, anthropology, sociology, religion, literature, and film studies alongside vignettes from clinical practice and day-to-day life to bring theory to life. This fascinating exploration is essential reading for practising clinicians and trainees to broaden their understanding of the impact of the wide network that surrounds us all.