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The Oedipal complex and its resolution are one of the mainstays of personal development in psychoanalytic terms. Within the fields of psychoanalysis and anthropology there has been a long-standing debate on the validity of the concept. We review the literature and propose that Oedipal type of reactions are not unknown in other cultures. However, in some cultures the Greek myth is relatively rarely reported. We suggest that the Oedipus complex needs to be studied according to its various components, such as jealousy of the father, feelings of sexual attraction towards the mother and a boy's attraction to his own genitalia. Such a distinction can prove to be useful for research as well as for management of the Oedipal resolution. We highlight the implications for such a resolution for the purposes of psychotherapy across cultures.

Original publication




Journal article


Sexual and Relationship Therapy

Publication Date





69 - 86