Join our community
Receive the TR Together newsletters.
This series of five online seminars offers an opportunity for psychotherapists working with individuals, children, adolescents or groups to learn more about couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy as developed and practised at Tavistock Relationships over 75 years as well as for couple therapists to develop their theoretical understanding.
Seminars will be led by experienced couple psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and will offer a mix of theory and clinical vignettes. There will be the opportunity for discussion in the group, and to develop connections with colleagues working in the field, allowing space for participants to develop their own thinking and engagement with the theory.
The programme will give consideration to key couple psychoanalytic concepts, as well as to clinical technique. It will cover periods in the life cycle that can bring couples into therapy, including parenthood, and challenges such as ageing and illness which can powerfully rekindle the earliest anxieties.
The series will act as a taster for Tavistock Relationships’ Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy clinical qualification, which is being developed so that it can be offered from September 2024 as a hybrid course; online and in person.
In this seminar, Stanley Ruszczynski will read through a clinical illustration of a couple in treatment, and will describe how he thinks about and understands the likely impact of their histories on their psycho-social development. This will include a developmental or psychoanalytic understanding of psychic growth. He will also discuss how he thinks about the clinical technique he employs in working with this couple, including ideas around transference, countertransference, projection and projective identification.
Couples presenting for therapy often grapple with the contradiction of a problem which has befallen them but equally has an unexpected and profound hold. The psychoanalytic model of the mind enables an understanding of how the conscious, unconscious and external worlds simultaneously present themselves. Psychoanalytic training allows the therapist to work with this seamless coexistence and show the developmental heart of the couple. Avi Shmueli will show how therapeutic work allows the couple to more consciously determine their own direction, even if this may lead to separation and possibly divorce.
There is a consensus in psychoanalytic couple theory that a satisfying, intimate and loving couple relationship is a creative relationship. However, the developmental origin and the place of creativity in psychic life are contested. Katherine Astill will describe two distinct, sometimes opposing, strands of psychoanalytic thinking about creativity in couple relationships, one deriving from Klein and the other from Winnicott. Mary Morgan’s concept of the creative couple draws on a post-Kleinian view, in which creativity is an outcome of Oedipal development. More recently, David Hewison has revived and developed ideas about creativity in the Independent tradition, focussing on Winnicott’s concept of primary creativity, and its elaboration by Christopher Bollas. This seminar will consider fruitful points of contact and difference between these two approaches to creative relating, and some implications for technique in couple therapy.
This seminar will consider some of the challenges that arise in working with couples who are also parents. A new baby can reignite old Oedipal conflicts in the internal world of the parents, parenting issues can become the platform on to which unconsciously held beliefs play out, children can become vessels for unconsciously projected disavowed emotions or the family scene the drama for unconsciously repeated inter-generational trauma. Application of some of the theory developed by teachers and clinicians at Tavistock Relationships over the past 75 years can help to deepen and facilitate the work with couples who bring their children with them, metaphorically speaking, into the consulting room.
In this seminar, Andrew Balfour will explore some of the challenges of ageing and of working with clients who are facing death. As is often remarked, it is powerfully the case that in our end is our beginning – as the anxieties of our earliest lives may be powerfully rekindled by the vulnerability and prospect of dependence on others that the end of life can bring. This seminar will focus on the impact of illness, such as dementia, and other possible fates of late life, on our relationships.