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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 8, 474 - 481

Essay

Psychodynamic consequences of a family history with psychiatric disorders

C.G. Bouwkamp, M.P. Lambregtse-Van den Berg, A.J.A. Kievit, S.A. Kushner

background A positive family history for psychiatric disorders is the most important risk indicator for developing psychopathology. Often, the psychological consequences of a positive family history are insufficiently acknowledged.
aim To provide insight into the psychodynamics of children who grow up in a family with psychopathology, such as psychosis, to demonstrate how these effects can last a lifetime, and to suggest ways in which such effects might be prevented.
method We review the relevant literature, discuss theoretical concepts, and make clinical recommendations.
results Parental psychopathology, including psychosis, can have a strong and lasting influence on the child’s identity and sense of self.
conclusion A positive family history for psychiatric disorders has the potential to seriously disrupt the normal development of identity and sense of self. Various types of psychosocial interventions might be able to reduce these harmful effects.

keywords family history, identity, psychiatric disorders, sense of self