Winnicott and 'Good Enough' Couple Therapy
Reflections of a couple therapist
Claire Rabin innovatively applies the Winnicottian theory of the ‘good enough mother’ to couple therapy, redirecting attention to the therapeutic relationship and the therapist’s self-awareness regardless of the methods used. Using this lens, even the therapist’s mistakes become an opportunity for repairing both the therapeutic relationship and the partners’ own personal maturity.
The intensity and pressure of couple therapy can make each case a test of the therapist’s competence. The need for neutrality constitutes on-going pressure on the therapist and the proliferation of therapeutic methods can cause confusion about which might be most useful in each situation. Applying theory effectively is easier said than done within the context of the powerful emotions unleashed in sessions, which can result in a catastrophic atmosphere. These factors can make it hard for therapists to utilise their own skills and knowledge within sessions of couple therapy.
The book explores how therapists and couples can unintentionally further ‘false selves’ without realising how the very tools of change may counter authenticity. Featuring interviews with an international range of couple therapists and case studies from the author’s own experiences, the key aspects of the ‘good enough’ concept are elaborated. Rabin shows how these ideas can strengthen therapists’ sense of security and safety in using their lived experience and intuition.
Winnicott and Good Enough Couple Therapy is the ideal book for clinicians seeking an overarching framework for working with couples or families, as well as those concerned with the importance of the client-helper relationship.
Table of Contents
Winnicott and I. How Therapists View Good Enough Therapy – The Interviews. The Process of Good Enough in Therapy with Couples. Hate and Aggression in Couples Therapy. Transitional Objects, Transitional Space and Potential Space and Couples Therapy. Countertransference in Couples Therapy.
Claire Rabin is director of the family and couple training programme at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and the founder and director of the Claire Rabin Clinic for Couples Therapy. Her previous publications include Equal Partners - Good Friends: Empowering couples through therapy.
'In this highly readable and generous book, Claire Rabin pulls together threads from her professional and personal experience that have influenced her development and practice as a couple therapist. Committed to no one school of thought, and well-informed about many, she draws on the work of paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott to bind and represent what has been of most importance to her. This breaks new ground, and couple therapists stand to gain much from reading about the journey she has made.' - Christopher Clulow, PhD. Senior Fellow, The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships.
‘This is a thoughtful book about one person’s journey to becoming a couple therapist and using one of the grand masters of attachment theory – Winnicott - as a guide. The author encourages us to step beyond our desire to be magicians and to simply be able to be truly WITH our clients as they grow.’ - Dr Sue Johnson, author and proponent of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)
‘Claire Rabin transports Winnicott's concept of the "good enough mother" into the fresh arena of couples therapy. Rabin seeks an open, fully engaged relationship with her readers as much as with her clients. She reveals herself personally and professionally, while speaking of love as well as hate. Rabin throws the whole of her heart, soul, and mind into her work, just as any good enough mother would. Couples psychotherapy is no easy task; many couples wait up to 7 years before seeking help. When conflict is this high, to be a good enough couples therapist all too often requires being a great one. With decades of clinical work under her belt and a thorough understanding of multiple theoretical perspectives, Rabin teaches us how to be a "good enough" couples psychotherapist by showing us the courage, empathy, experience, and conviction it takes to become a great one.’ - Terry Marks-Tarlow, Ph.D., author, Psyche's Veil (2008)
"Who would have thought that a book on applying Winnicott’s theories to the practice of couples therapy would turn out to read like a fun novel! The author's valuable insights, engagingly energetic writing style, broad eclecticism and wisdom, plus her so-readable explanations of Winnicott’s often-overlooked yet all-so-important perspectives make this book a great read. Perfect for couples therapists and would-be couples therapists who want to curl up in the evening with an absorbing book and at the same time upgrade their professional effectiveness." - Susan Heitler, Ph.D., author, From Conflict to Resolution