A Couple State of Mind: Insights into Couple Relating and Therapeutic Work with Couples

Saturday 29 June 2019 - London

With speakers Mary Morgan and Stanley Ruszczynski

This conference, inspired by our speaker Mary Morgan’s new book A Couple State of Mind (Routledge, 2019) for psychotherapists who are looking for further insight into couple relating and concepts for working with couple relationships. Understanding what the couple creates together as their own developmental journey will be richly examined by Mary Morgan, drawing on psychoanalytic concepts such as shared unconscious phantasy, projective systems and narcissistic relating. Some couples have challenges that impair their creation of a positive developmental relationship. Here, Stanley Ruszczynski will explore perverse and violent states of mind and behaviour as a consequence of insensibility to each other’s needs and subjectivity.




Registration and coffee

Mary Morgan and Stanley Ruszczynski
Key analytic couple concepts
Over the last 70 years a body of couple psychoanalytic thought has developed. In this joint presentation, Mary Morgan and Stanley Ruszczynski will introduce some key couple psychoanalytic concepts essential in understanding the conscious and unconscious dynamics of an intimate couple relationship. They will discuss some central technical and clinical issues which inform a psychoanalytic treatment of the couple relationship. These concepts and technical issues will be the backdrop to the subsequent papers on a couple state of mind and the absence of a couple state of mind as well as the clinical presentation.



Mary Morgan
A couple state of mind – understanding what the couple create together
In this presentation Mary will describe the concept of “a couple state of mind” as an internal position and capacity often missing or not fully developed in the couple coming for help, how it is represented by the therapist and internalised by the couple as an outcome of treatment. In addition, some key couple analytic concepts will be described that help anchor the therapist in a couple state of mind and help the development of insight into what the couple create together both negatively but potentially creatively.


Stanley Ruszczynski
Absent Mindedness
In his presentation Stanley will describe how for some patients the lack of or very fragile capacity for a “couple state of mind”, may result, both for couples and individuals, in disturbing feelings of rejection and betrayal or, at the most primitive, anxieties about psychic survival. Because of this absence of a secure capacity for a “couple state of mind”, these disturbed feelings cannot easily be thought about, processed and understood and may therefore be defensively evacuated through anti-social enactments. Faced with such anxiety and disturbance in their patients, it is essential that clinicians have developed and have consistent access to their own capacity for a “couple state of mind”.


Live Supervision with Mary Morgan and Stanley Ruszczyn