Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Psychodynamic Couple Therapy

  • Arthur C. NielsenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_19

Name of Intervention

Psychodynamic couple therapy

Introduction

This essay reviews what I believe are the most important psychodynamic contributions to the field of couple therapy. It is a whirlwind tour condensing material covered in six chapters and more than 100 pages in my earlier book (Nielsen 2016), which, itself, distills the work of many clinicians and researchers. I will discuss four central psychoanalytic domains – underlying issues, divergent subjective experiences, transference hopes and fears, and self and partner acceptance – and apply them to couple problems and therapy. The additional, important, topic of projective identification as applied to couple therapy is covered in a separate article in this encyclopedia.

Specific schools of psychoanalysis – modern ego psychology, object relations theory, self-psychology, relational psychoanalysis, mentalization, or attachment-based treatment – have genuine differences and emphases, but this essay is not an exercise in compare...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.The Chicago Institute for PsychoanalysisChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA