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Vol 10, No 3, Article 03, PDF

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The Triangular Space in an Analytic Group: The role of the father and transference in the dialogue: Dr Herzel Yogev

The triangular space in the individual represents the Oedipal potential, and a capacity for internalization, object constancy and ego differentiation. Developing these functions signifies a shift from dyadic relations to triangular relationships that extend beyond the present moment. The one looking at the person gazing in the mirror is the focal point of the triangular space. In the triangular space in the group, someone engaging in the mirroring of a dyadic interaction is mirrored by the third participant. Hence the group space consists of mirrors in all directions. As two people engage in a dialogue, a third establishes transference to this dialogue. With the joining of the third, the observer watching the dialogue take place, the pair of subjects resonate an inner dialogue, which in and of itself is represented in the transference.
In this paper the place of the third is examined from two perspectives: first, as the observer of the dyad, and second, as the signifier of the father’s role. Representations of the father in the triangular space are considered, and the different functional qualities of the father’s role are examined: the father of the oedipal myth, the father as internal object, and the father in the separation-individuation process.
Ideas of fathering and mothering go beyond child rearing. As states of mind at both the conscious and unconscious level, they have a general application. Fathering and mothering is thus not only a matter affecting those who choose to embark on the procreative process, it is of supreme importance in how one conducts relationships (Obholzer, p. xvi 2002). Fatherhood is understood as an abstract concept holding a similar weight as the concept of motherhood.
This study will examine the significance of the triangular space as it is manifest in analytical group therapy. The evolvement of the transference in the group will be considered using a clinical model of the triangular space, and portrayed by clinical vignettes at the end.

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