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Tarsh, H. (2011). Being In Love: Therapeutic Pathways Through Psychological Obstacles to Love, by Judith Pickering, 2008, Routledge.. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 1(1):156.

(2011). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 1(1):156

Being In Love: Therapeutic Pathways Through Psychological Obstacles to Love, by Judith Pickering, 2008, Routledge.

Review by:
Helen Tarsh

I highly recommend this book. It is a tour de force on our desire to live ‘in love’ with someone with whom we feel bonded, ad idem, through life's vicissitudes. Yet, in experience, the very aspects that unconsciously draw us together demonstrate the profound vagaries of sustaining the phantasy of love being ‘at one’ with an ‘other’. Pickering references Martin Buber's conceptualization of interdependent relations, ‘I—Thou’ mutual encounters, versus ‘I—It’ subjective narcissistic monologues denying nourishment.

Couple psychotherapists know this syndrome, but Pickering has written what feels to be almost the definitive treatise on what it is to be human in relationship. With staggering erudition she illustrates her theses through myths, legends, history, religion, philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, music … The essence of her theme is the value of otherness/alterity and interdependence. Reading this book, we feed and are fed.

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