Global Perspectives in Family Therapy: Development, Practice, and Trends

By Kit S.Ng | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9

Family Therapy in France

A Brief Overview

JEAN FRANÇOIS LE GOFF

In France, therapists, for the most part, are influenced by the psychoanalytical orientation, and the development of family therapy has been more difficult than in other European countries. After approximately 20 years family therapy is beginning to be recognized and developed.


DIFFICULT BEGINNINGS

At the end of the 1960s the French context was marked by the major influence of psychoanalysis. Freud himself had attached much importance to the development of psychoanalysis in France, the country where he had been a student. But French psychiatrists have long been hostile or cool toward the notion of infant sexuality. It was also a clear rejection of what had come from German-speaking countries during the first half of this century.

From the 1950s onward, psychoanalysis played an innovative role in French psychotherapy institutions, whereas it had almost disappeared in German-speaking countries following the emigration of psychoanalysts fleeing Nazism. It has since been the origin of institutional psychotherapy, the “psychiatric de secteur” and child psychiatry.

But this influence was made at the cost of splits and controversy: The majority of French psychoanalysts influenced by the nonconformist works of Jacques Lacan found themselves in disagreement with the international psychoanalytical movement. One of the first papers published by Lacan in 1938 dealt with the family Despite different vocabulary and conclusions, there are notable similarities with the early works of Theodore Lidz on families of schizophrenics. Other pioneers of psychoanalysis in France who were

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