chapter  4
45 Pages

Relational Family Therapy and the Marital Relationship

Relational models (Bruschweiler-Stern et al., 2010; Cooper, 2000; Cummings & Davies, 2010; Donavan, 2003; Fishbane, 2013; Fosha, 2009; Johnson & Whiffen, 2003; Lachkar, 2004; McCormack, 2000; Mitchell, 1988, 2000, 2002; Poulton, 2013; Ringstrom, 2014; J. S. Scharff & Scharff, 2000, 2006, 2014; Siegel & Solomon, 2013; Solomon & Siegel, 2013; Solomon & Siegel, 1997; Summers, 1994) strongly suggest that the relationship, or attachment to others, is inherent to our psycho-organic system. This theory shows the internal representation of individuals, objects, relationships, or experiences, and particularly the core affect, that becomes part of our intrapsychic or psycho-organic structure. Children who are often left alone have no internal images of their mother, which makes them cry. When the mother’s image is internalized, children can handle the mother’s temporary absence, since the internalized image promises her return. This is referred to as affect regulation, a function vital for healthy growth and development (Beilock, 2015; Fonagy et al., 2007; Fosha, 2009; Schore, 2003, 2012). In adults, the internalized psycho-organic or maternal image includes both a real maternal image from various periods in a child’s life, as well as an abstract image formed under the infl uence of cultural stereotypes and myths about motherhood (Kim et al., 2014; Lachkar, 2004; Pines, 1999).