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Rodgers, T.C. (1965). A Specific Parameter: Concurrent Psychotherapy of the Spouse of an Analysand by the Same Analyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:237-243.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:237-243

A Specific Parameter: Concurrent Psychotherapy of the Spouse of an Analysand by the Same Analyst

Terry C. Rodgers


The simultaneous treatment of marital partners by the same analyst has been viewed with disfavour in the past. The aim of this paper has been to re-examine this theoretical concept. Complementary neurotic interactions play a large role in marital discord and have an autonomy of their own over and above the individual pathology of the partners. In such situations the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Each partner is constantly influencing the other, whose reactions in turn influence the relationship, so that a circular pattern of interpersonal and intrapsychic strivings is maintained.

Marital flare-ups are a frequent manifestation of resistance in analysis. These flare-ups 'jam' the transference communication with the analyst. The seeing of both partners will often help clarify not only the current situation but also the transference, since neurotic marriages offer such fertile ground for the acting out of transferences. This acting out is often compounded by the transference responses of the mate which remains unknown unless both mates are seen concurrently. Transference complications do arise but they are not insurmountable in properly selected cases. The greatest obstacle lies in the multivectored nature of the countertransference. The procedure is contraindicated when either partner is manifestly paranoid or when one or both partners have already covertly decided on a divorce.

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