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Drugs, sex, and love: narrative of an object relations couple therapy

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The authors present their clinical experience with a couple struggling with conflict over marihuana. Before introducing the case, the authors give a brief review of the analytic literature on drug misuse and its impact on relationships. Writing from an object relations perspective, they reconstruct the impact of unconscious dynamics on the user, spouse, marriage, and couple therapist. Such a narrative report aims to do justice to the complexity of therapy and the confusion to be tolerated whilst making sense of the couple's unique experience. The article follows the progression indicated in the title—from a focus on conflict over drug use as a defence against sexual anxiety and difference in desire, to conflict over sex as a defence against exploring the pain of not feeling loved for themselves, and ultimately on their coming together to confront their needs for love.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2020

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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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