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Sehgal, A. (2012). Self Within Marriage: The Foundation for Lasting Relationships, by Richard M. Zeitner, 2012, London and New York: Routledge.. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(1):110-112.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(1):110-112

Self Within Marriage: The Foundation for Lasting Relationships, by Richard M. Zeitner, 2012, London and New York: Routledge.

Review by:
Amita Sehgal, Ph.D.

This is a book not just about relationships, but also about treating relationships. It is written simply and engagingly and will interest anyone who is curious about couple relationships and inquisitive about understanding the unconscious nature of intimacy in loving partnerships. It will also appeal to clinicians as it provides individual as well as couple therapists with methods of working with their clients, offering a framework to help individuals and couples gain a deeper understanding of who they are as individuals and as part of a couple relationship.

The author, Richard Zeitner, is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has been practising for thirty years, specialising in psychoanalysis, couple and family therapy. In this book he draws on the tradition of working with couples using a psychoanalytic approach to gain an understanding of the complex organisation of intimate couple relationships. However, he builds on these ideas by adding the concept of the ‘selfdyad,’ which he has developed to describe a variation of Henry Dicks's (1967) concept of the joint marital personality. Dr Zeitner defines the ‘selfdyad’ as, ‘a conjoint structure or shared unconscious space of two individuals who have come together to project, metabolise, and contain various features of the self, including unconscious fears, wishes, needs, longings, and drive states — all recruited from early development … this structure must also provide for both individuals support and affirmation, partly to repair and compensate for deficiencies experienced during early life’.

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