The Double Moon Drawing: An Instrument for Intervention and Research in Structurally Complex Family Situations


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Series: Psychology Research Progress
BISAC: PSY041000

The book presents a graphic projective tool, The Double Moon Drawing (DMD), that can be used with families in research and clinical settings. This book is an extension of Ondina Greco’s original work (1999) “La Doppia Luna. Test dei confini e delle appartenenze familiari” [The Double Moon. Assessing family boundaries and belonging], Vita e Pensiero, Milano.
The DMD examines family boundaries in structurally complex family situations.
In these situations, a dialectic relationship exists between the present and the distant elements. DMD offers the opportunity to graphically represent crucial aspects of the inner representation of the family situation which are unlikely to emerge at the verbal level. The subject often feels emotionally connected to significant people who are not present in the “here and now”. The tool makes explicit a “double axis” of representation: the axis of the persons and elements that are present in everyday life and the axis of lost or distant elements which nonetheless remain present psychically. Observing the subjects’ representations of boundaries and family belonging in both axes is crucial from a clinical point of view. DMD is specifically designed to address the theme of “who is absent” and illustrates the ways in which the subject deals with the loss or distancing of emotionally significant elements.
The theoretical assumptions of DMD combined with 20 years of experience in its clinical use and application to qualitative research have led to the construction of a theoretical-methodological “Biaxial model”. This model offers a space-related metaphor that makes explicit both a theoretical hypothesis about structurally complex family situations and a methodological way to read the verbal and graphic indicators noted during clinical or research interviews with the subject.
The number of complex family situations is significantly increasing nowadays. There are blended families due to rising divorce rates; more medically assisted procreation families, gay/lesbian families; single mother families, etc., so the DMD tool will be increasingly useful both for clinical work and research in the future.
New developments about the use of DMD are represented on one side by a quantitative reading of the drawing, to connect the qualitative analysis of the data of the DMD to a quantitative analysis, in order to have a more informative and reliable picture of family relationships. Psychometric properties of a new scale are assessed and correlations between DMD scores and family boundary ambiguity in a group of adolescents from separated families are calculated to assess the construct validity.
It is fascinating to observe how the symbolic level of analysis of the DMD can be integrated with the analysis of the interactive patterns between participants. Stemming from the pragmatic approach to human communication typical of the systemic approach, this level of analysis can contribute to a deeper understanding of the emotional and relational dynamics of the couples and families when they are dealing with the task represented by the drawing.
The presentation of numerous clinical examples enriches the work, showing the ductility of DMD, which can be used with subjects of different cultures.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword: Addressing Complex Family Situations


Chapter 1. The Double Moon Drawing
(Ondina Greco, Catholic University, Milan, Italy)

Chapter 2. The Double Moon Drawing in Front of the Challenge of Research
(Ondina Greco, Daniela Barni and Raffaella Iafrate, Catholic University, Milan, Italy, and others)

Chapter 3. The DMD in Clinical Work
(Ondina Greco, Elisa Gusmini and Ferdinando Salamino, Catholic University, Milan, Italy, and others)




“I am delighted to endorse the publication of this book. The Double Moon Drawing (DMD) can be used in both clinical and research settings, facilitating the exploration and understanding of family boundaries and sense of belonging in structurally complex families. In particular, this symbolic-graphic tool allows the exploration of “absence”, addressing how the subject deals with the loss or distancing of emotionally significant people. I have personally used the DMD, finding it a powerful and intuitive instrument, able to facilitate the participation of children and parents in the meaning-making process prompted by the clinician. Finally, the manuscript presents numerous clinical applications, which make it an invaluable resource for professionals working in the field of mental health. I strongly endorse the publication of this book, as I am confident it will make the application of the DMD more accessible and clinically sound.” -Tanya Lecchi, PhD, Anna Freud Centre, Kantor Centre of Excellence, London, England

“The Double Moon Drawing: An Instrument for Intervention and Research in Structurally Complex Family Situations is, in my opinion, an innovative publication, filling a gap in the field with great benefit for clinical practice.” – Dr. Gabriella Gandino, Researcher and Family Therapist

“The ‘Double Moon’ drawing tool is a novel, clear and cogent model for understanding the applications of visual stories to (family) therapy and counselling.” – Dr. Lisa Fellin, Researcher and Family Therapist

“A real strength of the Double Moon is its accessibility. The voice of young children is often hard to obtain or is missed on many assessment methods. Through using creative methods, the perspectives and in turn voice of younger children is heard.” – Claire Harrison-Breed, Trauma Therapist

“Capturing meaning and sense that derive from conscious and unconscious dialogue, identifying some ‘complex/problematic’ family structures (children of divorced parents, foster or adoptive children, children that suffered a bereavement in the family) the DMD permits to get a precise focus on lealty/belonging conflict that follows any significant transformations of family environment.” – Giuseppe M. Festa, Specialist in Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapist

“Dr. Greco has developed the DMD, a new model of assessing families functioning theoretically well founded, easy to administer, clear in the scoring procedure. It is a highly valuable and reliable instrument both for researchers and clinical and mental health practitioners to analyze core relational dimensions of complex families.” – Camillo Regalia, Director of Families Studies and Research University Centre at Catholic University of Milan, Italy

“This book, which presents the Double Moon Drawing (DMD), is a promising work tool in clinical psychology and in psychological research. Its simplicity of use makes the DMD a brilliant instrument to get a meaningful picture of structurally complex families. I highly recommend this book to psychologists and health care professionals who like working with families and wish to do it well.” – Marco Cacioppo, Associate Professor in Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Lumsa Univesity, Rome, Italy

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