CRISIS AND GROWTH IN LONG-TERM COUPLE RELATIONSHIPS
An “open secret in our world,” wrote philosopher Stanley Cavell, “is that we do not know what legitimizes either divorce or marriage.” As psychotherapists, we seek to help people sort out dilemmas of sustained commitment, while sharing in the prevailing cultural uncertainty. This course provides a grounding in current theories of adult development and couple development as a means for considering the normative crises and challenges of long-term relationships, including feelings of disconnection and deadness, affairs and infatuations, addictive behaviors, and aging. We will discuss together the questions these theories raise about how we approach our psychotherapeutic work. What is maturity, and what is important about it? What is marital love, and, if lost, how is it regained? How do marriage and individual development enhance or constrain each other? How does our therapeutic perspective change by virtue of treating the individual or the couple? Throughout, we will think about the values — psychoanalytic, ethical, existential — that shape our understanding and inform our clinical choices.
At the conclusion of this course participants will be able to:
- Identify three themes in contemporary theories of lifespan psychology that clarify the interaction of individual and couple development.
- Compare and assess the developmental models of couple relationships that underlie psychoanalytic couple therapy and emotionally-focused therapy (ETF).
- Analyze our implicit and explicit value positions on couple dilemmas (e.g., monogamy, divorce, substance use, children’s wellbeing, individual growth), and their impact on how we choose to intervene clinically.
- Use the psychoanalytic concepts of narcissism, mourning, and sublimation to understand the psychological capacities that sustain long-term intimate relationships.
Daphne de Marneffe, Ph.D., sees couples and individuals in her private practice in Marin. She has published in JAPA, Signs, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and is the author of Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life. Her forthcoming book on marriage and midlife will be published by Scribner.
This is an intermediate level course open to interested clinicians at all levels. Some background in couple therapy is helpful but not necessary.
Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time. Transfer of registrations are not allowed.