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Schachter, J. (1994). Psychotherapy with Couples: Theory and Practice at the Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies. Edited by Stanley Ruszczynski. Karnac. £16.95. Pp. xix + 236.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 8(2):194-195.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 8(2):194-195

Psychotherapy with Couples: Theory and Practice at the Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies. Edited by Stanley Ruszczynski. Karnac. £16.95. Pp. xix + 236.

Review by:
Joan Schachter

This book gives a history of the growth of ideas among Collaborators at the Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies, who originally developed analytic approaches to couples and marriage, following the founding in 1948 of the Family Discussion Bureau by Enid Balint and colleagues.

The book is divided into four parts.

In Part 1, the editor gives a succinct account of the clinical and research activities, and the particular focus of developing theory and technique in what he refers to the ‘third area’ of the relationship created by the couple's interaction with each other, this relationship being the arena for the constant interplay between the intrapsychic and the interpersonal.

Part 2 is concerned with the core understanding of the psychoanalytic perspective on the couple relationship. Enid Balint's classic paper, Unconscious Communication between Husband and Wife, is reprinted here. Different elements of psychoanalytic theory — Bion's ‘container-contained’ model, Winnicott's concept of ‘holding’, the Oedipus complex, and ambivalence — are elaborated in subsequent papers in terms of their application to the complexities of the mutual projection system in the couple relationship.

Part 3 addresses the inevitable tensions between the individual and the couple: the conflict between the need for intimacy and the need for autonomy, between dependence and independence, and the capacity to manage differences.

Part 4 considers specifically the therapeutic interventions offered to couples, and focuses on some of the critical clinical issues that are likely to arise in psychotherapy with couples: in particular, the use of the transference and countertransference between the couple and in relation to the therapists.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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