Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Floating Objects in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Yveline ReyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_944

Name of Concept

Floating objects


Floating objects are therapeutic methods for systemic maintenances, developed by Philippe Caillé (MD, psychiatrist, family therapist) and Yveline Rey (PhD, psychologist, Emeritus Pr, family therapist) during the 1990s (Caillé and Rey 2004).

Floating objects belong to the constructivist school of thought. Beyond their cocreation function, throughout the therapeutic process, emotional enhancement, and playfulness, they reinforce the sense of belonging to the couple or family and promote empowerment. Floating objects can be seen as therapeutic rituals.

In summary, the main objectives are:
  • To mark the context as therapeutic

  • To reveal the founding models of the couple or the family (family myth)

  • To introduce new means of communication (other than verbal/digital), like nonverbal communication (analogical) or the use of metaphors

  • To reintroduce the dynamic of time

  • To leave a trace that will mark the therapeutic encounter

Theoretical Context

In the...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Caillé, P., & Rey, Y. (1996). Il était une fois... la méthode narrative en systémique. Paris: ESF éd.Google Scholar
  2. Caillé, P., & Rey, Y. (2004). Les objets flottants, méthodes d’entretien systémiques. Paris: FABERT.Google Scholar
  3. Rey, Y., & Colpin, M. T. (2014). Le jeu de l’oie dans tous ses états, méthode d’entretien systémique originale: individus, couple, famille, institution. Paris: FABERT.Google Scholar
  4. Rey, Y., & Gaillard, J. P. (2001). Deuil et thérapie familiale: Quels objets flottants? Thérapie familiale, 22(3), 251–268. Genève.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Rey, Y., & Halin, L. (2008). Prendre place, la famille, l’école, la thérapie. Paris: FABERT.Google Scholar
  6. Rey, Y., & Prieur, B. (1991). Systèmes, éthique, perspectives en thérapie familiale. Paris: ESF ed.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERASGrenobleFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Maria Borcsa
    • 1
  1. 1.Nordhausen University of Applied SciencesNordhausenGermany