Depression and family: A symptom in interpersonal relationships

L. Maggi, P. Frongia, B. Guidotti, T. Spada, C. Bressi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The systemic perspective seeks to determine the role of depression within family interaction. The symptom, when viewed as communicative behaviour, needs to be decoded, not only to understand the meaning of this suffering, but also because certain transformations are activated that the symptoms itself seeks dysfunctionally to trigger. The interpersonal nature of the symptoms appears still more evident if we think that the relational equilibrium can be maintained through the distress of the 'designated patient' which safeguards the stability of the family. Symptoms often appear as desperate attempts to interact with emotionally distant partners, as a mean to protect the partner from his unexpressed personal problems or as a cover for problems relating to the couple. Two clinical cases treated with a family systemic therapy were described to show how symptoms can be interpreted as significant modes of relating with others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-150
Number of pages4
JournalNew Trends in Experimental and Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Depression
  • Systemic family therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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