“Revolutionary” baby, rite and family


Rites marks life cycles and social rhythms.  They are present in all areas of psychotherapy, especially in group psychotherapy.  However, the traditional rites surrounding birth are disappearing.  The hypothesis of this communication is based on the idea that the birth event provokes the rite because birth is an upheaval, a revolution, both for the newborn baby and for the family that welcomes the new member (into its fold).  Starting from a series of clinical examples based on the psychoanalytic approach of baby’s observation according to E.Bick, the author shows how the links and processes which affect the subjects during this upheaval can be explained by the social processes of sharing the rite.

Relatives around the cradle find themselves being “in competition” each other, to find their new place in front of the baby.  In the case of a mother who has had a very difficult childbirth, the construction of the libidinal bonds with the baby remains marked by the initial situation of “violence” and strangeness. In the example of the child who sometimes retires, this construction seems to be the inheritance of a mother’s turmoil, which, beyond a present reminder, refers to a specific family configuration (fratria and father), but also likely to a transgenerational problems. In the latter case, the resurgence of a tradition-related rite (the heir healer from the time of slavery) would indicate the need for the mother to maintain continuity with her lineage.

The birth event destabilizes the set up of the family on different levels. Rites would can temper this violence by linking multiple stories, condensing the intra, inter, and trans-psychic levels of the subjects, and associating together the body’s psychic life and the one symbolic of the group.


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