Siblings in Psychoanalysis

a two-day international symposium

November 8-9, 2008

Low Library Rotunda
Columbia University
New York, NY

registration details
see below

register on line
at the symposium home page!

Cezanne: Un coin de table (1895-1900; The Barnes Foundation)

“Why have we not considered that lateral relations
in love and sexuality or in hate and war have needed
a theoretical paradigm with which
we might analyse, consider, or seek to influence them?”

Juliet Mitchell, Siblings (2003)


“Missing: Siblings in Psychoanalysis,” the 2008 biannual international symposium sponsored by the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine, the Academic Society of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, will offer a unique opportunity to hear numerous psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically-informed experts from allied fields express their thoughts and concerns about the determining role of sibling relations in individual, group, and social life. The symposium is entitled “Missing” because, to our dismay, the important determining influence of sibling relations in our emotional lives has been marginalized if not repressed by our field.  Part of our mission, in the perpetual hope of keeping the unconscious conscious, is to analyze the possible reasons and meanings for this marginalization.

Freud considered cooperative and loving feelings between siblings as defensive reaction formations to the rivalrous feelings experienced for one’s parents’ love, a displacement from the oedipal conflict. In contrast, the Yale Study Group in a landmark edition of the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child (Solnit et al., 1983) argued that sibling effects on emotional development were the result of and should be conceptualized as a separate developmental sequence. These were not mere second editions of the original oedipal complex, but relations promoting their own creative ego developments and adaptations of a nature and quality quite different from those promoted by parental oedipal conflict.

Since then, a small number of psychoanalytic thinkers have persisted in their attempts to highlight the crucial contribution of sibling relations to psychic development and social life. Prominent among these is Juliet Mitchell, author of two books on psychoanalysis and siblings (Siblings [2003] and Mad Men and Medusas [2000]), who has argued for greater balance between the concerns of vertical relations–between parents and children–and the concerns of lateral relations, between siblings and between peers. 

For Mitchell, to understand sibling relations is to understand their determining psychic and social impact, and their unique contributions to making sense of team loyalties and betrayals, intense sensual and sexual feelings, and the control of violent impulses. She highlights the constant dynamic and reciprocal relationship between vertical and lateral relations and how our area of interest should not privilege one or the other but rather the points where these intersect. Lateral relations are crucial in the structuring of a person’s burgeoning awareness of his or her similarities and differences with others, most notably in the areas of gender and sexual differences. These differences are structured both along lateral lines (namely, gender and sexuality) and vertical lines (namely, reproduction), coming together most momentously in adolescence when fertility becomes an actuality.

Fortunately for us, Mitchell–who will be a speaker and a discussant at the symposium–is not alone in her willingness to invite our field to pay greater attention to siblings, their relations, and their crucial determining influence on our psychic and social development.  It is for this reason that we have the pleasure to present a two day symposium filled with renown clinicians and academics, presenting their views on siblings from a variety of perspectives and locations, whether the consultation room, the social group, myths, the Bible, or the cinema.  We look forward to welcoming you to what we expect will be a highly stimulating event.

Preliminary Program

Coffee & Registration
Welcome 9:00‑9:15

Jonah Schein, President, The Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine

Lecture Nº1 9:15‑10:00
Robert Paul – The Sibling Relationship as a Metaphor for the Good Society
Lecture Nº2 10:00‑10:45 Jeanine Vivona – Transference and the Lateral Dimension
Lecture Nº3 11:0011:45 Juliet Mitchell - Siblings in Psychoanalysis
11:4512:15 discussant Elizabeth Young-Bruehl
moderator Edward Kenny
Audience Participation 12:1512:45
Introduction 2:002:15 Deena Harris
Lecture Nº1 2:153:00 Krin Gabbard - When Brothers Talk About Women
Lecture Nº2 3:003:45 Luisa Ferder - Siblings and Maternal Narcissism
Lecture Nº3 4:004:45 Jim Herzog – The Best I Can Do: The Analysis of Sibling Love and Hate When Parents Are Not Able to do Their Jobs
4:455:15 discussant Karen Gilmore
Welcome & Introduction 9:00‑9:15 David Ott
Morning Panel 9:15‑9:30 panel chair: Alicia Guttman
Lecture Nº1 9:30‑10:00 Adriane Leveen – Hebrew Union College
Lecture Nº2 10:00‑10:30 Rosemary Balsam – Western New England Psychoanalytic
Lecture Nº3 10:3011:00 John M. Ross - Columbia Psychoanalytic Center
Lecture Nº4 11:0011:30 Helen Meyers - Columbia Psychoanalytic Center
Panel Discussion 11:45‑12:45 panelsists & discussant Juliet Mitchell – Cambridge University
Audience Participation 12:45‑1:00 closing remarks: Andreas Kraebber – Symposium Chair

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 10.25  hours in category I credit towards the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award.

Andreas Kraebber, Chair
and the Symposium Planning Committee

We are expecting a sellout so you may want to guarantee yourself a seat and save yourself some money by taking advantage of our Early Registration Fee. As an added bonus we are offering free registration for Continuing Education Credit to those who register before August 1st – a $35 value.
Symposium Fees:

General Registration
Registration before 8/1/08 $200
Registration between 8/1/08 and 9/15/08 $225
Registration after 9/15/08 $240
On-Site Fee $260
Candidates, Residents
Registration postmarked before 8/1/08 $125
Registration postmarked after 8/1/08 $150
On-Site Fee $175
Full-time Student - with documentation, available in advance only $75
Continuing Education fee $35

Mail check payable to the APM to: Larry Jacobsberg, MD, 220 East 63rd Street, New York, NY 10065




Rosemary Balsam is Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at The Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis.  She is the author of a book chapter on siblings in Akthar and Kramer’s Brothers and Sisters (1999).

Luisa Ferder is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry at the Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico.  She is a member of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association.

Krin Gabbard is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Sutides, State University of New York, at Stony Brook.  He is the author, with his brother Glenn Gabbard, Psychiatry and the Cinema (1999).

Karen Gilmore is Training and Supervising Analyst and Director of the Program in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Alicia Guttman is a member of the faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  She has written widely on children's trauma and gender.

James Herzog is Training and Supervising Analyst and Child and Adolescent Supervisory Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and Supervisory Analyst, Sigmund Freud Institute, Zurich, Switzerland.  He is the author of Father Hunger (2001).

Adriane Leveen is a psychotherapist and an Assistant Professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College.  She is the author of numerous articles on the Bible.

Helen Meyers is Training and Supervising Analyst at at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters and editor of Between Analyst and Patient (1986).

Juliet Mitchell is Professor of Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge.  She is the author of numerous books including Siblings: Sex and Violence (2003).

Robert Paul is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies and Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Emory University.  His book Moses and Civilization (1996) received the Heinz Hartmann Award in Psychoanalaysis.

John Munder Ross is Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.  He is the author of The Male Paradox (1992) and What Men Want (1994).

Jeanine Vivona is Associate Professor of Psychology at The College of New Jersey.  Her 2007 JAPA paper presents a theory of the neglected role of sibling dynamics in identity development.

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl is a member of faculty at the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Center.  She is the author of numerous books including two award-winning biographies on Hannah Arendt and Anna Freud.

last updated 11/9/08

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of The American Psychoanalytic Association and the APM. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians and takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity.

The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 11.25 hours in category 1 credit towards the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

Disclosure information is on record indicating that participating presenters, discussants and panelists have no significant financial relationships to disclose.