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Yakeley, J. (2001). The Uninvited Guest: Emerging from Narcissism towards Marriage. By James V. Fisher. London: Karnac Books. Pp. 304. £26.95.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 15(3):297-299.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 15(3):297-299

The Uninvited Guest: Emerging from Narcissism towards Marriage. By James V. Fisher. London: Karnac Books. Pp. 304. £26.95.

Review by:
Jessica Yakeley

James Fisher is a marital psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Tavistock Marital Studies Institute, who has written an erudite and thought-provoking book that interweaves historical, literary and psychoanalytic ideas to explore the possibilities of working psychoanalytically with couples. Drawing upon the work of psychoanalysts such as Bion, Klein, Meltzer and Balint, Fisher uses literary and clinical scripts to understand the vicissitudes of the relationship between two people. This book is both a fascinating history of, and a tribute to, the inspiring work achieved over the last half-century in the field of psychoanalytic couple therapy.

Fisher's unifying theme is to understand the process in which couples can progress from relating in a narcissistic way to a state of marriage. Narcissism is understood, not as a preoccupation with the self, but as an object relationship where there is denial of the real independent existence of the other. Marriage is defined as a relationship in which the passion and dependence on the intimate other is acknowledged, the other recognised as a separate person in his or her own right. The book opens with a re-reading of Shakespeare's play A Winter's Tale.

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