Multifamily psychoanalysis: a story on a theory of mental illness and cure


The paper summarizes the core of the theory propounded by the Argentine psychoanalyst Jorge García Badaracco. He saw psychoses as a result of maddening mutual interdependencies having place mainly within the patient’s family environment. The therapeutic setting derived from Badaracco’s theory is described, in which working with multifamily psychoanalysis groups is seen as the most effective way to understand and unweave or dismantle the pathogenic wefts.

The task undertaken in the last decade by a multifamily psychoanalysis group in the Psychoanalytic Center for Research and Assistance (CPSEA in Spanish) is then outlined. Two clinical cases presenting very diverse pathologies, one from the beginning of that decade and the other from its last years, in which García Badaracco’s theory could be corroborated are especially accounted for. In the former, a case of intellectual disability (Down syndrome), it could be clearly seen how the family environment suffocated the patient’s subjectivity. In the latter, the multifamily group enriched itself when forced to act in a sympathetic, therapeutic manner in the face of a social violence situation derived from a painful history of abandonment resulting in traumatic emotional helplessness.

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