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Clulow, C. (2012). The Interpersonal Unconscious, by David E. Scharff & Jill Savege Scharff, Aronson, 2011.. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(2):261-263.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(2):261-263

The Interpersonal Unconscious, by David E. Scharff & Jill Savege Scharff, Aronson, 2011.

Review by:
Christopher Clulow, Ph.D.

The names of David Scharff and Jill Savege Scharff will be well known to readers of this Journal, if not through attendance at conferences and training events where they have featured, then through their seminal publications on the application of object relations theory to individual, couple, sex, and family therapy. This is the most recent of their impressive list of publications, appearing in The Library of Object Relations of which they are Series Editors, and it charts the directions their thinking has taken them in recent years.

The book interweaves four theoretical themes: object relations theory (with an emphasis on Fairbairn's contribution, as well as those from Klein, Bion, Winnicott, and others), link theory (developed by writers such as Pichon-Rivière in South America and Kaës in Europe), chaos theory (deriving from the mathematical study of the action of complex systems governed by continuous feedback) and attachment theory (from Bowlby onwards, and including reference to recent developments in neuroscience). Along the way, it provides rich clinical illustrations of the ways these theories can inform the practice of psychoanalytic couple and family therapy, and expounds the potential of social dreaming for accessing unconscious interpersonal and group processes.


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