New Life at the Graveyard: A Method of Therapy for Individuation from a Dead Former Parent


  • Donald S. Williamson

    1. Donald S. Williamson, PhD, is Clinical Director at The Marriage and Family Consultation Center, Houston, Texas; a Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine; and President-Elect, American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.
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First, the usual form of family-of-origin work with living parents toward the individuation of adult children is briefly illustrated. This is done in order then to compare and contrast this procedure with a method of therapy, presented here, for structuring family-of-origin work towards individuation from a dead parent. Several case illustrations follow. The paper concludes that under certain conditions, it is possible successfully to engage in and to complete individuation work with a parent who is already dead.