Sibling Relations and the Horizontal Axis in Theory and Practice : Contemporary Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Organization Consultancy book cover
1st Edition

Sibling Relations and the Horizontal Axis in Theory and Practice
Contemporary Group Analysis, Psychoanalysis and Organization Consultancy

ISBN 9781032114781
Published June 30, 2022 by Routledge
278 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the interpersonal world of sibling relationships, explaining how these relationships are central to the development of the psyche of the individual, of the group, of society and of the organisation.

Sibling Relations and the Horizontal Axis in Theory and Practice considers four key areas: sibling relations, sibling trauma, the law of the mother and the horizontal axis. The contributors journey through examples from the psychological, philosophical, organisational, social and cultural realms, giving a new perspective on the psychic world and the importance of sibling relationships as an empowering and therapeutic component for building relationships. While we are used to looking at the individual, the group and at society through the vertical, hierarchical relationship that results from parent–child relationships, this book discusses and reveals the impact of the horizontal axis.

Sibling Relations and the Horizontal Axis in Theory and Practice will be important reading for psychoanalysts, group analysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists in practice and in training.

Table of Contents


Earl Hopper


Juliet Mitchell


Smadar Ashuach and Avi Berman

Sibling relations

1.1 Group Encounters at the Boundaries of Developmental Epochs

Richard M. Billow

1.2 Siblings and groups. Groups of siblings?

Maria-Jose Blanco

1.3 Far away from home: A study of sibling relationships in Thomas Ogden’s novels

Shoshi Breiner

1.4 A new take on Joseph and his brothers: siblings as a potential rescue from parental destructiveness

Robi Friedman

1.5 Transferences in Groups and Organizations. Definitions and clinical value

Einar Gudmundsson

1.6 Otherness in groups: The nursing couple and Oedipal relations

R.D. Hinshelwood

1.7 "What happens when you cut a worm?" - Group members as Peers

Joanna Skowronska

1.8 Mature Adult Siblinghood

Suzi Shoshani and Pnina Rappoport

1.9 Kinship and Sibling Dynamics in Organizational Consultancy

Gerhard Wilke

Sibling trauma

2.1 Exclusion on the horizontal axis

Smadar Ashuach

2.2 The horizontal axis from differen perspectives: The Social Significance of Siblings

Prophecy Coles

2.3 Processes of Scapegoating and Sibling Rivalry in the Context of the Basic Assumption of Incohesion: Aggregation/Massification

Earl Hopper

2.4 Sibling witnessing in analytic group therapy

Ella Stolper

2.5 Healing traumatic scars: New sibling relationships in therapeutic settings

Ivan Urlić

The law of the mother

3.1 The Law of the Mother and its expression in group relations conferences and organizations

Smadar Ashuach and Simi Talmi

3.2 Discrimination: The dark side of the Law

Avi Berman

3.3 Snitches-a rupture in "siblings" relationships

Martin Mahler and Liat Warhaftig-Aran

3.4 "Law of the Mother" – its impact on love and hate between siblings and in society

Gila Ofer

The Horizontal axis

4.1 The Tree and the Rhizome and the Horizontal Axes – Reflections on Individual and Group Therapy following Deleuze and Guattari

Avi Berman and Limor Avrahami

4.2 Traversing the Axes: The intersection of parental and sibling relations in the film The Return, by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Rina Dudai

4.3 Power relations in psychoanalysis as conditioned by capitalist structures: Felix Guttari’s critique and new horizons

Ester Rapoport and Gita Kiper

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Smadar Ashuach is a clinical psychologist, supervisor, training psychoanalyst and group analyst based in Israel.

Avi Berman is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, training psychoanalyst and group analyst. He is the founder of the Israeli Institute of Group Analysis.


"This rich and fascinating book deals with various aspects of the Law of the Mother and the growth that results from the Sibling Trauma. The book analyzes the Horizontal Axis as it appears in group analysis, in the Bible, in organizations, in literature and in cinema. Reading this book shows how much society has changed in the days of Foulkes and Antony. It is a refreshing and topical book, boldly researching the weaknesses of hierarchical structures and the strengthening of the structure of social networks."

Hanni Biran, Clinical Psychologist, Training Psychoanalyst and Group Analyst; Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Israeli Institute of Group Analysis 

"Ashuach and Berman together with their stellar contributors propose an entirely new vector for understanding group and individual process. Embellishing Juliet Mitchell’s Law of the Mother and the centrality of sibling consciousness this book will irrevocably change accepted understandings of patients and clinical process. With examples that range from clinical work to the bible each chapter creates a new and unexpected perspective that collectively foment a deep realignment of clinical thinking and of subjectivity itself. No reader will listen to their patients or view an organization in quite the same way again."

Robert Grossmark, Ph.D, ABPP, Teaching Faculty and Clinical Consultant, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy


"This important book powers the theme of sibling relationships as fundamental in social relationships. Using the emerging concept of the horizontal axis, it not only offers convincing examples from several perspectives – psychoanalysis, literature, film, organizations - but illuminates the basis of fairness in all human communication."

Morris Nitsun, Consultant Psychologist and Group Analyst; Author, The Anti-Group (Routledge)