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How close is too close? Some thoughts on couple psychotherapy in a time of constricted living imposed by Covid

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Exploring case material from psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy, this article traces different reactions to living within the restrictions imposed by the global pandemic and spread of coronavirus. With particular emphasis on seeking psychological safety for couples where Henry Rey's claustro–agoraphobic dilemma is at play, the author examines the conflicting pull towards merger and push to separate, and shows the impact of uncertainty and compressed living conditions, on the dynamics of three different couples. Linking infantile deprivation and early attachment trauma to the struggle over the conflicting desires for autonomy and merged closeness within intimate adult relating, the author explores defensive couple projective systems highlighted in reaction to the abrupt changes dictated by living in lockdown.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2022

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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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