From Dyadic To Triadic Relational Prototypes: Blaise Pierrehumbert and Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge
Of course, dyadic and triadic relationships are to be understood in a metaphoric sense, because isolating dyads or triads-as much as isolating monads or any kind of n-ads-is, in fact, illusory. As Winnicott (1958) put it, "There is no such thing as a baby" (p. 99): One should not expect to be able to study an infant as an individual, as an observation unit; rather, what we may observe is a "nursing couple," an "environment-individual set-up." At this point, one might ask whether any couple is not, in fact, a triad rather than a dyad, because it is not clear that we can exclude the observer from the dyad. Furthermore, it is no longer clear that we can exclude from a triad or from a polyad any person who, although not physically present, nevertheless counts, as a missing person, a desired or ignored person, ancestors, or a child to come.