Couple Attachments: Theoretical and Clinical Studies

Editor : Molly Ludlam, Editor : Viveka Nyberg

Couple Attachments: Theoretical and Clinical Studies

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Also by Molly Ludlam

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The couple relationship is at the centre of this book. The complex nature of the couple attachment is emphasized, drawing both on psychoanalytic concepts and on attachment theory. The chapters aim to integrate theory with practice and can be seen, both separately and together, as offering new insights into the intricate web of psychic fantasies, shared unconscious anxieties and external realities that shape the attachment between the couple.

The book is divided into four sections. The first focuses on ways in which the couple identity is shaped, perceived and presented. It does this through looking at how images of the couple are formed by the couple itself, the therapist, the artist, the writer and society at large. The following section explores the impact of some of the developmental challenges that couples may encounter as part of family life, such as dealing with adolescent children, the childless older couple, and managing sibling relationships. The third section investigates what can happen to the couple relationship when an emotional and psychic imbalance is altered, for example by encompassing racial differences, through the impact of mental ill health and the power relationship involved in prostitution. Finally, the fourth section focuses on the importance of theory as a resource for the couple psychotherapist, outlining ways in which clinical practice can be underpinned by theory and research.

The authors are all experienced practitioners, several of whom are involved in ongoing research, attempting to further scientific understanding of couple interaction and its vicissitudes.

This book will be of great interest to all practitioners involved in couple work and can be used as a well-referenced teaching aid. It however has a much wider appeal and is to be recommended to anyone with a wish to further their appreciation of attachment as it manifests itself in the couple relationship.

Contributors:
Philip A. Cowan; Carolyn Pape Cowan; Molly Ludlam; Viveka Nyberg; James V. Fisher; Adrian Perkel; Elspeth Morley; Jody Leader; Barbara Bianchini; Fabio Monguzzi; Noela Byrne; Jenny Berg; Penny Jools; Christopher Vincent; David Scharff; Jill Savege Scharff; David Hewison; Gullvi Sandin; Anna Kandell; Rika van den Berg; Christopher Clulow; Una McCluskey; Timothy Keogh; Maria Kourt; Charles Enfield; Sylvia Enfield.

Reviews and Endorsements

'The present collection of original contributions to the Edinburgh Congress on "Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy" is a most welcome, refreshing approach to a field of growing importance in the application of psychodynamic principles to couples' conflicts. This volume presents a broad spectrum of contributions within the common frame of a psychodynamic approach, with particular emphasis on contemporary developments in attachment theory and in object relations theory. The various authors combine in different proportions and with different, innovative approaches these two major trends within contemporary dynamic treatments. Several papers illustrate very clearly the application of attachment theory, particularly in its focus on dysregulated affect communication, and on the vicious circles derived from dysregulated affects in one or both partners, as well as the specific therapeutic approaches geared to help a couple correct and resolve dysregulated affect communications. The mostly attachment theoretical approaches also integrate, with some frequency, cognitive behavioral measures that represent an original synthesis between psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral psychotherapeutic approaches. At the other extreme of this spectrum, the relatively "purer" psychoanalytic object relations approaches rely on contemporary Kleinian and Fairbairnian thinking, and focus on the unconscious repetition in a couple's relationship of past, pathogenic familiar relations, the unconscious repetition, in the here and now, of unresolved conflicts from the past in an unconscious effort to reactivate them with the longing for their resolution in the present. The psychodynamic approaches linking all these contributions also include, in many contributions, the consideration of the psychosocial and cultural frames within which a couple functions, and their consideration in the analysis and therapeutic approach to a couple's conflicts. The fact that a broad variety of approaches utilizing these theoretical formulations in different proportions, clearly presenting their conceptual backgrounds as well as highly practical applications of them makes this a theoretically stimulating and clinically valuable book that is highly recommended to all psychotherapists working in this area.'
- Otto F. Kernberg, M.D.

'Students and practitioners alike will find enormous enrichment and learning from this international collection of papers. Integrating object relations and attachment perspectives, this volume represents contemporary thinking and practice in psychodynamic couple therapy.The contributing authors are all authorities in their field and their perspectives, though emanating from different continents, have a pleasing coherence which makes this an engaging and enjoyable read.'
- Susanna Abse, Director, The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, London

'The work as a whole provides some varied theories on couples and the issues they face, illustrated with relevant and interesting examples of case studies.'
- Lyla Vander, Resources

About the Editor(s)

Molly Ludlam is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with couples, individuals, and parents in private practice and a Full Member of the British Society of Couple Psychotherapists and Counsellors, and Member of the International Council of Editors of Psychoanalytic Journals. She is author, editor and contributor to many books and journals.

More titles by Molly Ludlam

Viveka Nyberg is a Full Member of the SCPP and a Senior Member of the British Association of Psychotherapists. She is a Visiting Clinician/Lecturer at TCCR and works as a Couple Psychotherapist in the Adult Department, Tavistock Clinic, and as a Principal Psychotherapist in the City and East London Mental Health Trust. Her published papers include Shadows of the Parental Couple (in Grier, 2005, Karnac Books) and The Fragmented Couple (Kahr, Karnac Books, 2007).

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