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Fam Process. 1998 Spring;37(1):65-81.

Family therapy with a multiparental/multispousal family.

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Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


This article examines therapy with a Bedouin-Arab family from the Negev, Israel, which consisted of 69 members: a husband, 8 wives, and 60 siblings. The husband, who lived with his youngest wife, paid little attention to his other wives and their children. There was considerable competition, hostility, and jealousy among the wives; no communication between the co-wives or the children of different wives; and a variety of behavioral and psychosocial problems among family members. I describe the varied strategies and systems involved in family therapy. The main strategies were to establish good relationships among the co-wives and to build a coalition among them, including the youngest wife, through group therapy in a medical clinic. A secondary strategy was using the children's problems to get the husband involved in the therapy. With improvement of the children's functioning, and with reduced intra-subfamily hostility, the husband's relationships with his children and wives improved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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