Sam Shepard and the dysfunctional American family

Therapeutic perspectives

Landy Sparr, S. S. Erstling, James Boehnlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

A series of family dramas by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American play-wright Sam Shepard provides a shocking look at the breakdown of the family as central organizing unit. Using Curse of the Starving Class as a model, this article examines family processes in the play and the biographical roots of Shepard's interest in dysfunctional families. Shepard's exploration of differentiation, boundaries, marital disintegration and parental ineffectiveness, isolation, family goals and purpose, and intergenerational legacies is a helpful reminder for therapists who focus primarily on technique and/or internal family dynamics to consider community ties and the significance of family rituals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-576
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychotherapy
Volume44
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

Fingerprint

Therapeutics
Drama
Ceremonial Behavior
Family Relations
Short Stature, Auditory Canal Atresia, Mandibular Hypoplasia, Skeletal Abnormalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Sam Shepard and the dysfunctional American family : Therapeutic perspectives. / Sparr, Landy; Erstling, S. S.; Boehnlein, James.

In: American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 44, No. 4, 1990, p. 563-576.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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