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Vorchheimer, M. (2017). Approaching Couples through the Lens of Link Theory. Fort Da, 23(2):17-30.

(2017). Fort Da, 23(2):17-30

Approaching Couples through the Lens of Link Theory

Monica Vorchheimer, M.A.

How is it that the members of a couple fail to understand each other? What happens when they lose their capacities to make themselves understandable or to achieve an understanding of their partner? Why is this difficulty often felt to be so disappointing, even catastrophic? And why, during these times, isn't love enough?

Many couples do not view these types of difficulties in understanding one another as part of the normal vicissitudes of ordinary life. Rather, they regard it as a kind of malformation, something that should never occur. Moreover, when they feel that they no longer understand each other, one or both of them usually presumes that it is the partner who is in the wrong. This type of presentation is frequently encountered in couple psychotherapy and poses particular concerns for those who work with couples.

This paper outlines some of the key theoretical and clinical concepts stemming from link theory, an approach that can be used to provide valuable tools for clinicians and shed light on these types of problems. Link theory, developed in Latin America over the last fifty years, has greatly influenced the widespread interest and practice of psychoanalysis with couples and families in Argentina and has increasingly generated interest across the world.

New Ideas

Traditional psychoanalytic theory understands love relationships as the effect of reciprocal projective identifications pari passu, an extension of individual analysis. It is only later that the psychic effects of being part of a relationship were also recognized as a new source of subjectivity.

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