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Ringstrom, P.A. (2008). Improvisation and Mutual Inductive Identification in Couples Therapy: Commentary on Paper by Susan M. Shimmerlik. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(3):390-402.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(3):390-402

Improvisation and Mutual Inductive Identification in Couples Therapy: Commentary on Paper by Susan M. Shimmerlik Related Papers

Philip A. Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D.

If it is true that “psychoanalysis is a good profession for someone who wants to do something dangerous without leaving the office” (Bromberg, 1998, p. 237), then doing psychoanalytically oriented couples therapy is nothing short of an extreme sport. This is because of the veritable geometry of complexities that analytically inclined couples therapists face, several of which Dr. Susan Shimmerlik captures beautifully in her paper. To consider these complexities, let's begin with her illustration of her work with Bob and Debbie by pretending that we are a “flies on the wall,” “analytic voyeurs” trying to figure out as Ed Levenson often wondered, “Just what the hell is going on around here?!”

Their session probably looks something like this. Bob and Debbie are telling Dr. Shimmerlik about their problems with one another. They are providing her narratives in an “explicit” verbal form of communication that arises from what she describes as their “explicit memory system,” the storehouse of “declarative facts” that they each cling to in a given moment as their version of “truth.”

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