Couple Dynamics: Psychoanalytic Perspectives in Work with the Individual, the Couple, and the Group

Editor : Aleksandra Novakovic

Couple Dynamics: Psychoanalytic Perspectives in Work with the Individual, the Couple, and the Group

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This book presents psychoanalytic thinking about the phenomenon of the couple and couple dynamics in internal and external reality and at different levels of organisation: the ‘couple’ in the individual’s internal world, the dynamics between partners in a couple relationship, and the dynamics between the couple and the group. These different fields of observation shift the focus between the figure and the ground, from the ‘couple’ in the individual and the individuals in the couple, to the couple in the group. Contributors bring different perspectives from theory and their therapeutic practice about how these multiple levels influence and constitute each other.

Contributors: Andrew Balfour, Ronald Britton, William Halton, David Hewison, R. D. Hinshelwood, Otto Kernberg, Richard Morgan-Jones, Aleksandra Novakovic, Jenny Sprince, David Vincent

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This innovative and important collection of papers connects the organisation of psychic life in infancy, the internal world of the adult couple and the functioning of groups in society through the thread of a Kleinian and post-Kleinian reading of the Oedipus complex. Rich in theoretical exposition and clinical illustration, and written by a stellar cast of contributors, it traces processes that influence whether the path of containment and creativity or fear and fragmentation are chosen in the face of unconscious fantasy and environmental adversity. Complex ideas are presented with clarity, and integrated into a coherent whole. The microcosmic worlds of intra-psychic reality and the macroscopic worlds of social reality are linked through studying the dynamics of couple relationships in ways that inform and challenge those of us working in different professional settings to promote generosity in the dealings between people.’
- Christopher Clulow PhD, Senior Fellow, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, London

‘Aleksandra Novakovic’s collection of essays by luminaries in the field of couple dynamics is unique. Its breadth of crucial topics begins with intimate issues such as the interaction of couples’ internal worlds and couples’ use of triangular space. It then offers vivid clinical explorations of several developmental couple issues, and concludes by considering the often-overlooked area of couples’ membership in groups and organisations. The book’s multidimensional exploration of couple life and couple therapy ensures that it will remain a vital resource to our field for decades to come.’
- David Scharff, MD, co-founder of the International Psychotherapy Institute, co-editor of Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy, and Chair, the International Psychoanalytical Association’s Working Group on Family and Couple Psychoanalysis

‘This book demonstrates the centrality of the internal couple as an unconscious dynamic in the individual mind, and illustrates its representations in couple, family and group relationships. Oedipal processes, both primitive and more mature, inform how individuals form intimate relationships, how couples struggle to create space between them to manage love and aggression, how parents accommodate the triangulation arising from the birth of a child, and how all of these dynamics exist in groups, organisations and society as a whole. Theoretically sophisticated, clearly written, illustrated with vivid clinical examples, the discussions in the text will stimulate and add to the thinking of all clinicians and consultants working with individuals, couples, families, groups and organisations.’
- Stanley Ruszczynski, psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic couple psychotherapist; Clinical Director, Portman Clinic; Co-editor of Intrusiveness and Intimacy in the Couple and editor of Psychotherapy with Couples

About the Editor(s)

Aleksandra Novakovic is a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a psychoanalyst. She was Joint Head of the Inpatient & Community Psychology Service and a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Adult Mental Health Psychology Service. She worked at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and taught and supervised on the Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training. She teaches for the British Psychoanalytic Association and supervises on the Reflective Practice in Organizations Course, Institute of Group Analysis. She co-edited (with David Bell), Living on the Border: Psychotic Processes in the Individual, the Couple and the Group (2013).

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