chapter  4
Re-enactment as an unwitting professional response to family dynamics
ByRonald Britton
Pages 11

The notion which is expressed in the title of this chapter is that contact with some families may result in professional workers or their institutions becoming involved unknowingly in a drama which reflects a situation in the relationships of the family or within the minds of some of its individual members; and that this is not recognized but expressed in action. As the action appears to be that of professionals going about their business, i . e . , interacting with the family, colleagues or other agencies, the fact that these transactions are shaped by an underlying dynamic is unlikely to be perceived. This may eventually call attention to itself by its repetitious nature or by the impasse which seems to follow a variety of initiatives. Indications of the presence of a prevailing unconscious process influencing professional responses may be the intensity of feeling aroused by a case; the degree of dogmatism evoked; or the pressure to take drastic or urgent measures. In other cases, in contrast to this, the professional ’symptoms1 are inappropriate unconcern; surprising ignorance; undue compla­ cency; uncharacteristic insensitivity or professional inertia.