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Abdel-Malek, H.S. (2018). Conception “In Vitro”: A Composite Framework in Psychotherapy with a Couple. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 8(1):56-72.

(2018). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 8(1):56-72

Conception “In Vitro”: A Composite Framework in Psychotherapy with a Couple

Hana Salaam Abdel-Malek

Throughout this paper, I discuss the psychotherapeutic work undertaken with a couple residing abroad. To ensure the continuity of our therapeutic work, I proposed a composite framework in which meetings would take place in my office whenever the couple was in Lebanon and that we would meet via video-link whenever the couple was abroad. The paper demonstrates how this type of composite model, with variations in the spatial field from the traditional setting, helped to introduce particular transference and countertransference dynamics, so causing certain aspects of the unconscious psychic reality to emerge. In particular, the couple's primitive “autistic-contiguous” (Ogden, 1989) or pregenital and “incestual” (Racamier, 1993, 1995a,b) mode of functioning was discernible. Perverse narcissistic manoeuvres (Caillot, 2003), enacted in the couple relationship, between the partners, and in the couple's transference towards the psychotherapeutic setting, were also perceptible. Finally, I raise the question as to whether this framework provided the couple with an adequate transitional space and relationship container to help them understand their defences and anxieties, and to allow them to separate amicably.

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