Preface by Howard M. Halpern, PhDAuthor of the bestselling How To Break Your Addiction to a Person
"What Libby has done is long overdue. She has developed and expanded on the favorite child complex, a subject that the literature has not given sufficient attention to. The Favorite Child
is an invaluable addition to both therapists’ and lay readers’ understanding of an important component of personality development within the family structure. This book is a must read for all those interested in the growth of healthy, productive children."
—Dr. Howard Halpern, author of How to Break Your Addiction to a Personand former president of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, New York City
"All of us who have a sibling, or know someone who is one, owe Libby mucho gratitude for transforming her decades of experience and insight into this well-written, well-organized, and highly illuminating book. If one of the goals of any form of self-reflection is to know thyself, this book stands with the work of Oliver Sacks and Richard Powers. I’m looking forward to adding this to my list of references with my book groups. For these times, Libby’s book creates a paradigm for considering political candidates and executives."
—Rachel Jacobsohn, author of The Reading Group Handbook
founder and president, Association of Book Group Readers and Leaders
For more than thirty years veteran clinical psychologist Ellen Weber Libby has been helping successful, often-powerful clients in Washington, DC—a place known for its outsized personalities—deal with their personal problems. One pattern that has emerged out of some 60,000 hours of therapy is what she calls “the favorite child complex.” In this groundbreaking book, she describes in intimate detail how being the favorite child can confer both great advantages and also significant emotional handicaps.
While many of Dr. Libby’s clients are successful because of their favorite-child status—they have been brought up to believe that they can do anything and are unafraid of challenges— they suffer from an array of personality problems. Behind the outward appearance of money, power, charm, and attractive looks, they feel an intense pressure to maintain the façade at all costs. Sometimes their ability to tell the truth becomes shaky; sometimes intimate relationships are elusive.
In a series of chapters that offer insightful vignettes from actual therapy sessions (the identities of clients carefully disguised), Dr. Libby explores why parents, consciously or unconsciously, choose a favorite child as well as the long-term effects of being the favorite son or daughter of either or both parents.
She also discusses family situations where parents have successfully made each of their children feel favored and have instilled in their children a healthy emotional balance. She details parental skills and family processes that increase the likelihood of this type of success and that, most importantly, reduce the risk of the favorite child’s curse—power corrupted.
Illuminating for adults trying to come to terms with their own emotional baggage as well as young parents seeking the best way to rear their children, The Favorite Child
makes for rewarding reading.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
280 pages (illustrations)Binding:
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Ellen Weber Libby, PhD (Annapolis, MD), is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in private practice in Washington, DC, for over thirty years. Her professional experience includes the position of clinical director of a mental health center serving a three-county region and service on the faculty at the University of Maryland where she had significant responsibility for clinical training of students.