Strangers As Kin – Prophecy Coles

Organised by:


07 May 2022

Time: 10:30 - 12:00

Price: £35

Location: online


May 7th 2022


A Zoom link will be sent in advance of the day.


In this webinar Prophecy Coles will illustrate themes from her book Strangers as Kin, Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Illegitimacy, Adoption and Reproductive Technology, published in 2021.

Prophecy’s talk will begin with the unwanted child in myth and literature, before tracing the rise in illegitimate births after the First World War and society’s response. This included allowing the adoption of illegitimate children, but in about 20% cases there are distressing consequences for the birth mother or the adopted child. Prophecy will illustrate this with a mother forced to give up her child and an adopted child’s search to find its birth mother.

Some potential difficulties for the illegitimate child will be discussed. This will include the insights of Hermine Hug-Hellmuth (18781-1924), who was the first Viennese child psychotherapist and the first psychoanalyst to write about these issues.

Legislation now allows parents to trace their adopted child and adopted children to know the name of their biological mother. Today it is almost impossible to adopt a baby at birth in the UK, but there are many older ‘hard to place’ children who are in desperate need of the love of a new family. These children are often very distressed by their earlier experiences. Prophecy will discuss the work of Family Futures, which helps adopting parents and their ‘hard to place’ children to find a way of living together.

The talk will be of interest to those who have been affected by illegitimacy and adoption whether personally or through their work.

Prophecy Coles is a retired adult psychotherapist, who trained at the Lincoln Institute for Psychotherapy and was then a member and training therapist of the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has written several books about those on the margin of concern within the psychotherapy world. These include The Importance of Sibling Relationships in Psychoanalysis. (2003), The Uninvited Guest from the Unremembered Past (2011), The Shadow of the Second Mother (2015) and Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Stepparents and Stepparenting (2018).

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