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Riddell, J. (2008). ‘What Do You Think is Going on Here? Is This Individual Therapy or Couple Therapy?’. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 2(3):328-342.

(2008). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 2(3):328-342

‘What Do You Think is Going on Here? Is This Individual Therapy or Couple Therapy?’

Jenny Riddell

Using three sessions from three generalized and fictionalized ‘cases’, the author seeks to explore what is going on in long-term (three years plus) psychoanalytic psychotherapy with couples. Three possible kinds of therapeutic encounter are identified, named as: (1) How do we work together and why? (2) How do we work together, why, and who are you? (3) How do we work together, why, and who are you, and who am I? The focus is on the balance between the analytic work on the relationship between the couple and the opportunity for individual work for each of the couple in the threesome in the room. An argument is offered as to both the value and facilitative quality of this as a creative environment for the couple as a couple, and as individuals. This paper seeks to ask rather than answer questions, basing the questions on twenty years' clinical experience of working with individuals and couples.

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