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An Object Relations Approach to the Couple Relationship: Past, Present, and Future

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Drawing on the work of Tavistock Relationships over the last sixty-eight years, an object relations approach to understanding the couple relationship is described. This is conceptualised as firstly, what the couple brings of their past and how this is responded to defensively and developmentally; secondly, how the couple is progressing developmentally in the process of being "a couple"—how the partners manage the dynamic of there being an "other"; and thirdly, how they might carry on developing in the context of a relationship that could be creative for them both together and individually. A clinical example of a couple who struggled with love and hate illustrates some of these ideas.
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Keywords: ALTERITY; COUPLE RELATIONSHIP; COUPLE STATE OF MIND; CREATIVE COUPLE; INTERFERENCE; NARCISSISTIC RELATING; OBJECT RELATIONS THEORY; PROJECTIVE GRIDLOCK; PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT; SHARED UNCONSCIOUS PHANTASY; THE LINK (EL VINCULO); TRIANGULAR SPACE; UNCONSCIOUS CHOICE OF PARTNER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016-09-01

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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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