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Kirshner, L.A. (2001). Narcissistic Couples. Psychoanal Q., 70(4):789-806.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(4):789-806

Narcissistic Couples

Lewis A. Kirshner, M.D.

When psychoanalysts work with couples, they implicitly recognize a different type of psychoanalytic space in which the dialetic between use of the other as an object and recognition of the other as another subject becomes a new focus of exploration. There is a tension between a search for oneness with a lost object and the inevitable otherness of the partner. In this paper, the author proposes that narcissistic relationships involve a shared fantasy that approaches either of two extremes: denial of difference or totalization of difference between partners. Case examples are used to illustrate this model and to present some of the technical problems of this application of psychoanalysis to couples therapy.

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