Two recent books (Coles, 2003; Mitchell 2003) have generated excitement in the field of psychotherapy in drawing to our attention the extraordinary absence of focus in the psychoanalytic literature on the lateral relationships of siblings/peers compared with the cornucopia of concentration on vertical parent–child relationships. Excitement and, indeed, controversy. Are there universal principles governing the lateral which can take their place alongside the vertical? Are they the same principles in a lateral context or, if not, how do they differ from the vertical? In the individual’s psychic development do they precede or follow? Are they chronologically simultaneous, or does one displace the other? Or, at our most iconoclastic, are we to see all psychoanalytic theory as autobiographical, with the focus of both the writing and clinical practice of the giant creators of psychoanalysis emanating from their inter- and intrapsychic struggles, each locked in his or her own autonomous world, giving virgin birth to faithful followers who can never leave their progenitors?