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A Couple Who Lost Joy

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This paper was born out of a conversation between the co-authors as they made a rich-text study of the presentation and progress in treatment of a couple whose complaint was that they had lost joy. Pierre Cachia was the therapist and Jill Scharff, his writing partner. Writing about the consultation and early phases of analytic couple therapy, the therapist introduces the couple's presentation, current difficulties, and history. He then recounts a session in detail from the sixteenth month of treatment. As the session unfolds, the co-authors interrupt the clinical narrative to join in a free-form, open discussion of the emerging material. They share an attitude of curiosity about unconscious dynamics, transgenerational influences, and countertransference. Their respective voices merge as they develop an understanding of the underlying dynamics and the power of therapeutic action. Without reference to standard texts, they simply focus on the clinical narrative and their discussion of it to provide an experience-near illustration of analytic sensibility in couple therapy.
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Keywords: counter-transference; transgenerational influences; unconscious couple dynamics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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  • Couple and Family Psychoanalysis Journal is a new international journal sponsored by the Bristish Society of Couple Psychotherapists and Counsellors, the Professional Association of the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and aims to promote the theory and practice of working with couple and family relationships from a psychoanalytic perspective. It seeks to provide a forum for disseminating current ideas and research and for developing clinical practice.
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