Mini-lecture: The sibling complex

28 May 2010

Children walking through a meadow

With the Miliband brothers currently going head to head for the Labour leadership in the UK, sibling rivalry has never been more prominent.

But how do our siblings affect the development of our egos and how do our early experiences with or without brothers and sisters map out our sense of self?

In this mini-lecture Professor Juliet Mitchell (UCL Psychoanalysis Unit) discusses her research into siblings and tells us more about how our siblings shape our development.

“I came across siblings as a surprise as I was researching hysteria and there was something that just wasn’t explained to me. I went back and read all my clinical cases and found that siblings were everywhere. There isn’t a case history where the birth of a sibling isn’t a major event which triggers some sort of dramatic reaction.”

Psychoanalysis and siblings has featured as part of a series of public inter-disciplinary lectures taking place at UCL, the next of which is ‘New Reproductive Technologies and New Parenthoods’ which will take place on Thursday 10 June from 5-7.30pm. The lectures are held once a term and form part of a wider project of collaboration, both formal and informal, between staff and students in different departments at UCL.

Image above: Two children walking through a meadow


UCL context

The Psychoanalysis Unit at UCL was established by the late Professor Joseph Sandler, the previous holder of the Freud Memorial Chair in Psychoanalysis. Professor Peter Fonagy, the current holder of the Chair, directs the unit. The mission of the Psychoanalysis Unit is to strengthen the links between psychoanalysis and other academic disciplines.