1st Edition

Couples on the Couch Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy and the Tavistock Model

Edited By Shelley Nathans, Milton Schaefer Copyright 2017
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    Couples on the Couch provides a clear guide to applying the Tavistock model of couple psychotherapy in clinical psychoanalytic practice, offering a compelling sampling of ideas about couple relationships and couple psychotherapy from a broadly relational psychoanalytic perspective. The book provides an in-depth perspective to understanding intimate relationships and the complexities of working in this domain.The chapters and their accompanying discussion also offer a fertile resource of material for readers who have not previously had exposure to the theory and technique of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, as well as offering an expanded and more rigorous approach to those who are already familiar with the Tavistock model. The chapters cover key topics including: unconscious beliefs, forms of couple relating, sex and aging and draw upon the work of Klein, Winnicott and Bion, as well as attachment and object relations theory.

    The majority of the contributors are affiliated with the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relations (TCCR) in London or The Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Group in Berkeley, California and make fundamental use of the theoretical model that has been developed at TCCR since the 1940's. Couples on the Couch provides an introduction to the TCCR approach to couple psychotherapy and exposure to the depth and breadth of this framework. Each of the chapters contain in-depth theoretical and clinical case material, presented in tandem with formal discussion, demonstrating how theory may be applied in a variety of clinical encounters and by doing so, deepening the theoretical understanding of the difficulties that beset couples and the challenges posed to those who work with them. The book provides an in-depth perspective to understanding intimate relationships and the complexities of working in this domain.

    Couples on the Couch will be of great interest to couple psychotherapists and counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychoanalysts, as well as graduate and postgraduate students in psychology, marriage and family therapy, or those in psychoanalytic training programs.


    Chapter One Introduction: core concepts of the Tavistock couple psychotherapy model Shelley Nathans

    Chapter Two Couples on the couch: working psychoanalytically with couple relationships Stanley Ruszczynski

    Chapter Three Discussion of "Couples on the couch: working psychoanalytically with couple relationships" Rachel Cooke

    Chapter Four Unconscious beliefs about being a couple Mary Morgan

    Chapter Five Discussion of "Unconscious beliefs about being a couple": beliefs about a couple and beliefs about the other Milton Schaefer

    Chapter Six The Macbeths in the consulting room James V. Fisher

    Chapter Seven Discussion of "The Macbeths in the consulting room" Shelley Nathans

    Chapter Eight Psychotic and depressive processes in couple functioning Francis Grier

    Chapter Nine Discussion of "Psychotic and depressive processes in couple functioning" Julie Friend

    Chapter Ten Romantic bonds, binds and ruptures: couples on the brink Virginia Goldner

    Chapter Eleven Discussion of "Romantic bonds, binds and ruptures: couples on the brink" Rachael Peltz

    Chapter Twelve How was it for you? Attachment, sexuality and mirroring in couple relationships Christopher Clulow

    Chapter Thirteen Discussion of "How was it for you? Attachment, sexuality, and mirroring in couple relationships" Leora Benioff

    Chapter Fourteen Growing old together in mind and body Andrew Balfour

    Chapter Fifteen Discussion of "Growing old together in mind and body" Leslye Russell


    Shelley Nathans, Ph.D. is on the faculty at California Pacific Medical Center, Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Group, and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. She has authored papers on infidelity and projective identification in couples, and is the director and producer of the film Robert Wallerstein: 65 Years at the Center of Psychoanalysis. She is in private practice in San Francisco and Oakland.

    Milton Schaefer, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst in private practice in San Francisco. He is on the faculty at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis where he has taught Relational Theory and Couples Therapy and is a faculty member of the Psychoanalytic Couples Psychotherapy Group. He has presented and published on high conflict divorce, ethical issues, and psychoanalysis and art.

    "The present volume is an important development and an up to date presentation of psychoanalytic couple therapy. It brings together the new contributions from a broad spectrum of psychoanalytic orientations, particularly, the London Kleinian approach at the Tavistock Clinic, attachment theory, and the relational psychoanalytic focus. The chapters detailing the application of Kleinian and Bionian thinking to the interaction between the dynamics of each of the partners, and of the unconscious relationship they have jointly created and that now dominates them are particularly significant. They present the new development of the original psychoanalytic frame of couple therapy conceived at the Tavistock clinic in the nineteen sixties. The American contributions constitute a creative counterpart, emphasizing the application of attachment theory and the presently growing interest in countertransference analysis and utilization. This book should be of great interest to all couple therapists, regardless of their theoretical and technical orientation."-Otto F. Kernberg, M.D., psychoanalyst and Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College.

    "Couples on the Couch is an excellent, scholarly, and timely work. Applying depth psychology to our most intimate conundrums, this work also has far reaching social implications. It is an eloquent force of resistance to cyber culture, an analysis of the breakdown of love. This book restores our hope in humane and human contact."-Sue Grand, Ph.D., New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

    "This elegant new volume of essays on psychoanalytic work with couples represents a true marriage of ideas. In the book, UK and US therapists have a creative transatlantic conversation which brings to life and illuminates the theoretical and technical model developed by Tavistock Relationships (formerly known as The Tavistock Centre for Relationships) over the last 70 years. These essays represent essential and rewarding reading for experienced and new therapists wishing to deepen their understanding and practice with couples."-Susanna Abse, Consultant Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapist and CEO of Tavistock Relationships (2006-16).