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Couple Psychoanalysis and Couple Therapy: Context and Challenge

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Couple and family psychoanalysis are disciplines in search of definition. This paper offers a definition of couple psychoanalysis and considers its relationship to couple therapy. It reflects on Oedipal dimensions of the couple therapist's role, and explores contextual aspects of four clinical challenges intrinsic to that role: (1) looking in and looking out; (2) relating to sex and gender; (3) engaging with difference; (4) conserving and changing. The paper concludes with the assertion that three is a community, not a crowd, and that couple therapy, like couple psychoanalysis, is about building communities.
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Keywords: couple psychoanalysis; couple therapy; family psychoanalysis; relational psychoanalysis; relationship counselling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Couple and Family Psychoanalysis aim is 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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