A Group-Analytic Exploration of the Sibling Matrix
How Siblings Shape our Lives
A Group-Analytic Exploration of the Sibling Matrix: How Siblings Shape our Lives offers a fresh approach to siblings, recognising how these relationships are embedded in the framework of the family and how sibling experiences shape our lives, influencing relationships with partners, friends and colleagues, and affecting how we take our place in groups and in society.
The book is divided into three parts. Part One focuses on the sibling life cycle, exploring how these relationships shift and change throughout life according to context and circumstances. In Part Two, Parker uses clinical examples to consider how therapists working with individuals and groups might expand their thinking to incorporate the sibling matrix. The final part investigates how the sibling matrix manifests in organisational life and considers how we might develop mutuality and cooperation in our universal sibling matrix.
Drawing on the author’s wealth of experience as a clinician, the book incorporates compelling personal stories and clinical examples to bring to life the realities and nuances, the good and bad, the healthy and supportive, and also the potentially damaging aspects of sibling relationships. Accessibly written, this is a rich and rewarding invitation to reflect on our own experience, whether as clinicians, researchers or as members of our own sibling matrix.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Preface; Introduction: The sibling matrix; Part One: Sibling life; 1. Becoming a sibling; 2. Growing up together; 3. When siblings become a group: the challenge of finding one’s place; 4. The adult sibling matrix and its roots in infancy; 5. Sibling loss; Part Two: Siblings in clinical work; 6. Siblings in the consulting room; 7. Working with the sibling matrix in groups; 8. Towards a group-analytic sibling theory: overcoming the sibling blind-spot; Part Three: Siblings in the wider world; 9. The sibling matrix in organisations; Epilogue: the sibling matrix in our world today; References
Val Parker is a psychotherapist and group analyst working in private practice in West Oxfordshire. She is a tutor on the Psychodynamics Programme at the University of Oxford and a member of the staff team on the Qualifying Course in Group Analysis in Tirana, Albania. More information about Val can be found at www.valparkerpsychotherapy.com.
"Parker’s book explores an important and too often neglected area in family psychodynamics." Salley Vickers, former psychotherapist and best-selling novelist
"This book fills a gap in group analytic thinking, which people have intermittently looked at and then ignored again: sibling relationships and their role in psychotherapy, group analysis, and in life. Practitioners have perhaps ignored siblings because they have shied away from acknowledging that these relationships are often more powerful then parent-child dynamics. It is Val Parker’s achievement not to blink, and look at the powerful importance of sibling relationships within the family and in therapy groups. I recommend this book to anyone who works with groups." Gerhard Wilke, group analyst, author of The Art of Group Analysis in Organisations
"The essential thesis of this book is that our sibling relationships help to organise our social selves and humanise us. Within this matrix we learn about competition and co-operation and the way our social selves are mutually constructed. With a wide range of clinical material, the author highlights the way sibling dynamics are played out within the group. This is a book for all those who are becoming increasingly aware that the need to co-operate with others is essential for our survival. They will find a powerful argument that we should begin by nurturing our sibling social selves." Prophecy Coles, psychotherapist, author of The Importance of Sibling Relationships in Psychoanalysis, The Uninvited Guest from the Unremembered Past, and The Shadow of the Second Mother
"This is a timely and important book addressing the neglected field of sibling dynamics from a group analytic perspective. The author views the sibling matrix from developmental, analytic and socio-cultural vantage points – and brings her ideas to life with illuminating examples from her clinical practice. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all clinicians wanting to deepen their understanding of family dynamics." Sylvia Hutchinson, group analyst
"One of the great pleasures in reading this book was the many sibling memories it evoked in me. Perhaps it was not just the topic itself but also the straightforward way the book is written and the author’s use of both clinical and personal material...…the ...achievement of the book is bringing the sibling matrix to our attention in a lively, well written and skilfully presented way." - Sue Einhorn, British Journal of Psychotherapy
"… this is an important contribution to our thinking about sibling relationships, clearly and engagingly written, succinct and persuasive." - Christine Thornton, Group Analysis: The International Journal of Group-Analytic Psychotherapy
"This is a gem of a book…Parker’s handy little volume will need to be put on every reading list of every psychodynamically and psychoanalytically orientated training course in the country, indeed on the reading list of every psychotherapy or psychology training course, whatever its denomination. This is essential reading." - Amélie Noack, Psychodynamic Practice