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Driver, C. (2005). Grier, Francis (ED.). Oedipus and the Couple. London: Karnac Books, 2005. Pp. 229. Pbk. £18.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(4):543-546.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(4):543-546

Grier, Francis (ED.). Oedipus and the Couple. London: Karnac Books, 2005. Pp. 229. Pbk. £18.99.

Review by:
Christine Driver

Although this book is published in the Tavistock Clinic Series it is largely a collection of papers from a range of authors associated with the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships who all utilize, in one form or another, the Oedipus theme and dynamic in relation to work with couples. In the introduction Grier outlines that this book aims to ‘fill an obvious gap’ in relation to ‘contemporary developments in theories of the Oedipus complex’ (p. 1) and the book fulfils this in a varied and thought provoking way.

Grier begins this exploration in the introduction with a detailed exploration of the Oedipus myth. In this he examines the two key couples, the Corinthian Couple and the Oedipal (Theban) Couple. Grier brings out the interesting idea that these two couples reflect two aspects of relationships, the Corinthian Couple being the ‘externally orientated, more rational, more reality based’ (p. 3) couple and the Theban couple the ‘deeper, much less conscious, more irrational and instinctual, [and] containing the more intense currents of love and hate’ (p. 4). What Grier presents us with here is the Oedipus myth in relation to Freudian primary and secondary processes and conscious and unconscious levels of relating which sets the scene of the book and opens up consideration of the couple and relational based issues in terms of externally focused dynamics and internally focused and unconscious dynamics.

By implication the authors of the chapters develop this theme but the challenge in a book of chapters brought together from a variety of authors is to retain coherence in terms of the theme and the focus.

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