The authors of Siblings in the Unconscious and Psychopathology ask themselves, 'How does the adult's mental representation of a sibling evolve from that which he or she formed in childhood?' and in a groundbreaking work proceed to explore this question. Drawing on their own extensive clinical experience and that of colleagues, they have cast a penetrating light on the powerful effects siblings have on each other through the development of dynamic unconscious fantasies. It is these fantasies that epigenetically influence the formation of the adult, whether it be towards greater adaptability or towards some degree of psychopathology. Throughout, Doctors Volkan and Ast provide the reader with richly detailed clinical observations that are striking in their clarity and the compassion for the subjects. These patients are not mere cases, but are vibrant human beings towards whom we cannot remain indifferent. The authors demonstrate not only a profound grasp of ego psychology and object relations concepts, but they present these ideas in a straightforward and unassuming manner that makes this book a delight to read. Although psychoanalysts have always been aware of the impact of siblings on development, I believe that Siblings in the Unconscious and Psychopathology will, as no previous work has, bring these issues into sharper focus, in a comprehensive and accessible work. Accordingly, I enthusiastically recommend this outstanding book to all clinicians. --David S. Werman, MD, Professor Emeritus, Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, USA
About the Author
Vamik D. Volkan is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Massachusetts; and an Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Washington, DC. Gabriele Ast is a psychoanalyst and family practice physician in private practice in Munich, Germany.