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November 1964

Treatment of a Family Involved In Fratricide

Author Affiliations

Instructor, Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Carek) and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, and Associate Professor of Law, University of Michigan (Dr. Watson).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(5):533-542. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720290075011

Treatment of a family involved in fratricide has given us an opportunity to explore the dynamism of an act that has fascinated and haunted man ever since Cain killed Abel and declared he had no knowledge of what happened to his brother. In describing the conjoint treatment4,8 of the parents and the inpatient treatment of the boy, this paper explores the psychological interrelationships of this family and implications for the social management of persons committing such acts.

A's version of the shooting is as follows: 10-year-old A was caring for his two younger brothers and three younger sisters one wintry Saturday morning while his father was at work and his mother was shopping. The brothers defiantly provoked him by taking forbidden cough syrup. Beside himself with anger, he got his father's shotgun with the conscious desire to scare them into submission though he knew the