PMID: 590477Dec 1, 1977

On the reclaiming of denied affects in family therapy

Family Process
D A Berkowitz


A central developmental task of the family is to help its members develop the capacity to cope with the grief attendant on separation and loss. In order to work through such feelings, each member must first be able to acknowledge the affect as present, internal, and belonging to the self. Depending on the degree of intrapsychic differentiation, and the dread of abandonment, family members may seek to avoid awareness of such feelings within themselves. The disclaimed emotions remain powerful unconscious motivators of behavior, exerting their influence despite their denial. Some typical clinical illustrations of this are provided. Excerpts from conjoint family therapy are then presented to illustrate the therapeutic interventions made in assisting a family to acknowledge denied grief over the separation of one of its members along with unspoken tender feelings within the family. This paper affirms the continued relevance of a psychodynamic, interpretative approach for families struggling with unresolved grief.


Mar 1, 1977·Family Process·T G Gutheil, N C Avery


Mar 1, 1979·Journal of Adolescence·D A Berkowitz
May 1, 1983·The International Journal of the Addictions·M T Zingraff, M J Belyea
Dec 1, 1991·The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry·S Bloch
Jun 1, 1994·The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science·D W Kissane, S Bloch
Oct 1, 1978·International Journal of Group Psychotherapy

Related Concepts

Mood (Psychological Function)
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Denial (Psychology)
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Family Psychotherapy
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