The aim of psychoanalytic couple therapy is for partners to understand each other, but also to learn about each partner’s own contribution (own fears, desires, defence mechanisms, own history) to the relationship created by each partner.

The psychoanalytic model of working with couples assumes that:

  • we pair up for conscious but also unconscious reasons, and our relationships may be developmental or defensive in nature
  • we look for closeness in couples, but each couple defines it differently
  • the basis for the development of relationships is the ability to tolerate the distinctiveness of each partner, but also mutual closeness and intimacy
  • we must give up the idealized state of falling in love in favour of a relationship based on reality, which gives us a chance for deeper love
  • a developmental couple relationship provides the opportunity for the development of each partner as well as the development of the jointly created couple

A.Balfour, M.Morgan (A.Balfour, M.Morgan “Being a couple. Psychoanalytic Perspectives” in: A. Balfour, C. Clulow, K. Thompson “Engaging couples”, Ed. Fundament, Warsaw, 2022)