In this online lecture, Christopher Clulow asks how transformational change occurs in psychoanalytic work with couples. Through discussion of John Bowlby’s theory of attachment, he highlights the mutative potential of relationships in which both parties are involved in the mutual process of creating something new.
Date and time: Friday 9 June 2023, 6pm to 7pm
Speaker: Christopher Clulow PhD
Total number of places available: 500
Venue: Online via Zoom
Historically, the mutative power of psychoanalysis has been attributed to interpreting transference. The site of transformational change has been located in the patient-analyst relationship; the medium for bringing it about has been language: psychoanalysis as the ‘talking cure’. There is much wrong with this formulation, not least for therapists whose ‘patient’ is the adult couple – itself constituting a powerful site for past conflicts to find a home. Moreover, psychoanalysts of all persuasions accept that fundamental assumptions about relationships are formed at an unconscious level before experience can be symbolised through language.
John Bowlby’s theory of attachment has driven much research in developmental and social psychology, providing evidence for many psychoanalytic beliefs. It has also laid the foundations for subsequent theoretical and therapeutic developments that highlight the mutative potential of relationships in which both parties are involved in the mutual process of creating something new. This transformational capacity is not the preserve of any one therapeutic approach, but belongs in the realm of what have been described as the ‘non-specific’ factors that have accounted for change identified in many psychotherapy outcome studies.
This talk will consider some of these – if you like, the ‘mood music’ of psychotherapy – as part of the interpretative process that stems from, as much as results in, change. The talk will last for around 40 minutes, and there will then be the opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions.
Suitable for qualified therapists and counsellors, those in training, and those with an interest in psychoanalytic thinking.
Christopher Clulow is a Consultant Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, a Senior Fellow of the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology and Fellow of the Centre for Social Policy, Dartington. He is a past Director of Tavistock Relationships, and until recently was Editor in Chief of the international journal Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. He has published extensively on couple and family relationships, most recently from an attachment perspective, and continues in an emeritus capacity to teach in this country and abroad.
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