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Dec 4

Oedipus for Everyone: Revitalizing the Model for LGBTQ Couples and Single Parent Families – Dr. Shelley Nathans

December 4, 2021 @ 10:30 am - 12:30 pm


TICP Scientific Meeting

Oedipus for Everyone: Revitalizing the Model for LGBTQ Couples and Single Parent Families

SPEAKER: Shelley Nathans, Ph.D.

Saturday, December 4, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

NOTE: This event is RESTRICTED to members and guests of the TICP


The misguided application of Oedipal theory has led to the pathologizing of those with different gender identities or sexual preferences. Despite this harm, Oedipal dynamics are often viewed as a central organizing schema for understanding the dynamics of couples and families. In this paper, I revitalize Oedipal theory, divorcing it from its historical heterosexist bias, and highlighting its relevance for working with couple and family relationships, including LGBTQ and single parent households. Rather than using classical Freudian Oedipal theory which situates Oedipus in the psycho sexual development of children, I use a contemporary Kleinian- Bionian model to orient the discussion to the relevance of Oedipal issues in adult relationships. Problematic Oedipal dynamics are not always present, but when they dominate or underlie adult relationships, they can be stifling, destabilizing, and destructive. This perspective emphasizes the importance of considering Oedipal triadic structures when working with diverse couples and families.


Shelley Nathans, Ph.D. is on the faculties of The California Pacific Medical Center, The Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Group, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She is the director and producer of the film, Robert Wallerstein: 65 Years at the Center of Psychoanalysis. She is on the international advisory board of the journal, Couple and Family Psychoanalysis and is Chair of the Board for the Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Group.  Her most recent publications include, “Oedipus for Everyone: Revitalizing the Model for LBGTQ Couples and Single Parent Families” (Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2021); “45 Years” ( fort da, 2018); and “Whose Disgust is it Anyway?: Projection and Projective Identification in the Couple Relationship, (Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2016).  She is co-editor (with Milton Schaefer) of Couples on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy and the Tavistock Model (Routledge, 2017).  She is in private practice in both San Francisco and Oakland, California.


Free to all TSCP members. Pre-Registration Required. To check your membership status, please contact the administration office. Non-TSCP members may attend for a fee of $25; contact info@ticp.on.ca for registration.