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Mittelmann, B. (1948). The Concurrent Analysis of Married Couples. Psychoanal Q., 17:182-197.

(1948). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 17:182-197

The Concurrent Analysis of Married Couples

Bela Mittelmann, M.D.


Treatment of married couples by the same analyst makes more concrete both the realities and the neurotic interactions between the mates. Current reactions of dependency, guilt, hostility, anxiety, and superiority are revealed in a clearer light, and at times one of the mates gives information about crucial trends in the other mate. These trends may be so underplayed by the other mate that they would not otherwise

be adequately recognized by the analyst, although their investigation is imperative for the success of the treatment. Light is thrown on the problem of why certain symptoms and trends develop out of the many infantile and pubertal possibilities, and to what extent the mates actually correspond to the infantile prototypes of parents and siblings. Transference reactions include concern about whether the analyst favors the other, whether he values the mate as highly or as poorly as the patient, fear of divorce or separation, and the defense of unattainable marital ideals. Increased tension may develop if the mates (mis)quote the analyst to each other during new situations of stress, or if one of the mates has a negative therapeutic reaction or stops treatment. Simultaneous treatment of married couples was successful in eleven of twelve instances, including two which ended in divorces satisfactory to both parties. In four of the twelve couples, both mates were analyzed, in eight, one mate was analyzed, the other received briefer psychotherapy.

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