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Sehon, C. (2012). Reminiscences of a Learning Experience: A Partnership between TCCR and IPI. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(1):116-121.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(1):116-121


Reminiscences of a Learning Experience: A Partnership between TCCR and IPI

Caroline Sehon, M.D.

This summer I had an extraordinary experience. I went to study psychoanalytic couple therapy at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) in London, in a week-long course on The Unconscious World of the Couple. I'm an avid theatregoer, and was thrilled at one point in the week when we went to the Comedy Theatre. The play, which might be considered the furthest thing from a comedy, was Betrayal, the heart-wrenching drama by the acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter. It tells the tragic story of two married couples enmeshed in affairs with each other's partners. I couldn't help but feel pained by the characters' loneliness and desperate longing to connect with others. But, tragically, Pinter's insecure characters can only relate to ‘part-objects’. The couples' relationships lead to wide-scale damage and failure. I did wonder whether these sad people might have found freedom and relief via psychoanalytic couple therapy.

I suspect the course members all would answer with a resounding, ‘Yes, most definitely!’ This imagined response speaks to the course's success, and the universal optimism of the participants, thirty couple therapists from all over the world — Australia, England, Finland, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, and the US. Conceived by a partnership between TCCR and the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI), which has developed a videoconference series on couple therapy, Caroline Medawar and Christel Buss Twachtmann of TCCR designed the course in consultation with David Scharff and Janine Wanlass of IPI.

Course Structure

Each day we enjoyed two keynote presentations, given at a large group session, by Christopher Clulow, Joanna Rosenthall, Mary Morgan, Janine Wanlass, Yolanda de Varela, Christel Buss Twachtmann, Brett Kahr, David Scharff, Jill Scharff, and Stella Vaines. These alternated with two small group sessions co-led by a pair of experienced faculty members.

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