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Greenberg, S.I. (1977). A Marital Therapy Manual, by Peter A. Martin M.D., Bruner-Mazel Publishers, New York, 1976 206 pages $12.50.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 37(3):267-268.

(1977). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 37(3):267-268

A Marital Therapy Manual, by Peter A. Martin M.D., Bruner-Mazel Publishers, New York, 1976 206 pages $12.50.

Review by:
Samuel I. Greenberg, M.D.

Calling upon his thirty years of experience in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and the practice and supervision of marital therapy as well as his extensive knowledge of the literature, Dr. Martin has written a short book that surveys the changing field of marital therapy in a most helpful fashion. The approach is encyclopedic, and therefore many topics are covered all too briefly. However, each of the ten rather short chapters contains a wealth of shrewd observations for the clinician and wise suggestions for the therapist.

In the first place, he makes a very valid distinction between marriage counseling and marital therapy, a distinction that is all too often blurred. Marital therapy deserves to be thought of as on a par with all other forms of treatment, and often challenges the resources of the most experienced clinician. The diagnostic evaluation and recommendations for treatment need to include not only the pattern of disturbed interaction of the couple but also the intrapsychic pathology in each spouse and recommendations for the most appropriate treatment for each or both. This also includes medication and hospitalization where indicated. Marital therapy, therefore, is not superficial, or casual, or involving only crisis intervention. To know when to choose marital therapy over individual, concurrent, collaborative, or family therapy, for example, requires an enormous amount of experience and skill. Dr. Martin gives us the benefit of his years of experience and furnishes quidelines regarding what to use and when, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. He gives a comprehensive and balanced description of the many theoretical frames of reference that are used by the various therapists in marital work, whether psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.

Dr. Martin describes four basic patterns of marital dysfunction. The first is titled “The lovesick wife and the coldsick husband.” I would have preferred to call it the marriage of a morbidly dependent wife to a detached husband. The second is “In search of a mother marriage,” the third is “The double parasite marriage,” and the fourth is “Paranoid marriage.”

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