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Alperovitz, S. (2014). Moments of Loneliness: A Shared Experience of Learning from Impasse in Couple Therapy. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 4(1):69-85.

(2014). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 4(1):69-85

Moments of Loneliness: A Shared Experience of Learning from Impasse in Couple Therapy

Sharon Alperovitz, M.S.W., LICSW

In this paper, the author describes how she works with two theoretical ideas not commonly referred to by couple therapists: Klein's views on loneliness and Bion and O'Shaughnessy's concept of the absent object. She also weaves in Winnicott's theory of how the baby develops the capacity to be alone. Theoretically, her ideas are embedded in the British Object Relations School as well as her experiences as a couple and family therapist, a teacher of the Tavistock model of infant and young child observation, and day-to-day practice as a psychoanalyst. The author illustrates how she works within the transference-countertransference matrix to detect and name disturbing moments of loneliness. Clinical vignettes show how couples are assisted in uncovering the unconscious phantasies that push them into mutually hostile states of mind and which, in an instant, destroy feelings of goodness within and between them. While the author focuses on her work with couples, the approach is applicable in many clinical situations.

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