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Families, therapists and nodal thirds

Edith Goldbeter-Merinfeld

pp. 93-113

Some families stabilize their functioning around one of their members, who acquires therefore an essential role in the conservation of the balance of the system.This function tends to attribute to this "nodal third" a particular responsibility and specific expectations as for the way he/she will meet it.The departure (through separation or death) of such a "nodal third" confronts the family with the risk of an important disorganization and makes difficult—even sometimes impossible—the mourning of the one who left.The presented model is built on the working hypothesis (to verify beforehand) that the therapist sometimes sees offering the place of the now absent "nodal third" to seal the created empty space and to allow the eclipse of the impossible mourning. In its application, this model appeals to the echoes amplified around the sensibilities to absence.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39061-1_7

Full citation:

Goldbeter-Merinfeld, E. (2016)., Families, therapists and nodal thirds, in M. Borcsa & P. Stratton (eds.), Origins and originality in family therapy and systemic practice, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 93-113.

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