Couples as Parents: Explorations in Couple Therapy

Editor : Kate Thompson, Editor : Damian McCann

Part of The Library of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis series - more in this series

Couples as Parents: Explorations in Couple Therapy

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Couples as Parents: Explorations in Couple Therapy explores the complex task of parenting from the perspective of the couple relationship.

A book for clinicians and parents alike, it describes problems that can occur during the transition to parenthood and the initial decision to have a child to raising young children and adolescents. The book offers a comprehensive exploration of the nature and patterns of intimate partner relationships and how they can be affected by such things as the loss of a baby, raising a child with autism or adoption. Chapters delve into issues unique to same sex parents and those facing an empty nest. With moving clinical examples, it illustrates how a couple's sex life can be altered on becoming parents and describes how parents can best help their children as they separate. Couples as Parents explains how couple therapy has a unique stance with which to help parents and describes clinical vignettes that demonstrate how parents have been helped in the past.

The book considers the historical context of couple relationships, utilises research and psychoanalytic ways of thinking to further understanding for psychotherapists and interested parents as well as offering a variety of therapeutic approaches to the specific needs of parents, whether as a couple, separated, or single.

Reviews and Endorsements

Parenting is arguably the most challenging journey we ever embark on, especially alongside nurturing a couples' relationship. The book offers a compelling collection of essays that brilliantly bridge the gap between couples' dynamics and effective parenting. It's more than a guide—it's an essential read for professionals. By transcending the dyadic, this unique book champions a holistic view across a wide range of contexts, spotlighting how relationships influence relationships. The book will take your approach for the betterment of both children and parents to a new more sophisticated level!
Professor Peter Fonagy, OBE FMedSci FBA FAcSS Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences Director, UCLPartners Mental Health and Behaviour Change Programme Chief Executive, Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families National Clinical Advisor on Children’s Mental Health, NHS England

The transition from coupledom to parenthood can prove immensely challenging. Fortunately, Kate Thompson and Damian McCann have curated a beautiful, ground-breaking book documenting the ways in which experienced couple mental health specialists can prevent families from exploding. I warmly recommend this deeply important, clinically original, and highly readable text to all psychological professionals and, moreover, to parents as well.
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Honorary Director of Research, Freud Museum London, and Past Chair of the British Society of Couple Psychotherapists and Counsellors

Clinicians and parents will find this interesting and intelligent book incredibly useful. So many parenting books overlook that adults are also navigating their own relationship as they go about the task of bringing up children - this excellent volume really addresses that gap.
Susanna Abse is a psychoanalytic therapist and author of Tell Me The Truth About Love, 13 Tales from the Therapist’s Couch

Couples as Parents fills a void in the fields of family and marital psychotherapy. Writings about couple therapy have focused on marriage as a thing in itself, and family therapy has focused largely on interaction between children and parents. This encyclopedic book puts the microscope on the parenting function of couples, and thereby gives new perspective on a wide variety of largely unexplored dimensions crucial to family well-being. It is a most welcome addition to our knowledge and ability to help a wide variety of families.
David Scharff, MD. Co-editor, Psychoanalytic Couple Therapy and Co-Founder, International Psychotherapy Institute

Couples As Parents is truly an insightful delve into parenthood and partners. Experienced therapists share their observations of working with parents in conflict, expertly unpicking the knots of discord to deliver understanding, and in turn build the foundations of good communication. A brilliant read for anyone working with or interested in couple and family dynamics.
Sally Land, The Sun's Agony Aunt

This book tackles some of the hurdles facing parents from the moment they decide to try for a baby to the moment their child flies the nest. It maps the different stages of a couple’s life together and traces them as they intersect with their child’s developmental trajectory. I wish it had been to hand when we set out on our parenting journey’.
Tracey Camilleri, parent and author of The Social Brain

This very thoughtfully written and edited book describes how even planned and welcomed babies challenge the couple relationship as two become three, and intergenerational precepts around childrearing come into play. One of the unique contributions of the book is that the baby as well as the couple is held in mind by the authors. The various chapters make for surprisingly easy reading while dealing deftly with complex issues. I have come away enriched.’
Tessa Baradon, consultant infant, child and adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapist

Table of Contents

Kate Thompson & Damian McCann

Section 1 - Preparation for parenthood
1. ‘All change, all change’: Couples responding to the challenges of parenthood
Damian McCann

2. Being a couple and developing the capacity for creative parenting: A psychoanalytic perspective
Mary Morgan

3. Becoming parents through ART: Infertility, loss and the dilemmas of assisted reproductive technology
Martha Doniach

4. Gay and lesbian parenting: Choices, choices and more choices
Colleen Sandor

Section 2 - Developmental stages of the child
5. Perinatal couple psychotherapy: And the role of the infant
Sara Leon

6. Back to the Future, Together
Sonja Vetter

7. No Sex Please; We’re Parents
Linsey Blair

8. Falling or flying: Managing the ‘emptying of the nest’
Krisztina Glausuis

Section 3 - Challenges to parenting
9. Perinatal loss: The impact on the couple and the next generation
Marguerite Reid

10. Great Expectations: Blame, shame, and mourning in work with adoptive couples
Simon Cregeen

11. Holding the line: An exploration of the difficulties in maintaining a boundary around the couple for parents raising a child with a disability
Kate Thompson

Section 4 - Conflicted parents and their children
12. “Good cop – bad cop”: The challenge for parents of finding the middle ground
Sophie Corke

13. Mentalization-Based Therapy – Parenting under Pressure (MBT-PP): What does it feel like? Does it work? How can it help?
Honor Rhodes, William Walker, Maria Franchini, Sarah Ingram and David Levy

14. From partners to co-parents: Treading a new landscape after Separation
Joanna Harrison

About the Editor(s)

Kate Thompson is a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist and senior staff member at Tavistock Relationships with over 20 years’ experience of therapy with couples and individuals.

More titles by Kate Thompson

Damian McCann, D.Sys.Psych., is a psychoanalytic couple psychotherapist working at Tavistock Relationships, London, adjunct faculty member of the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) Washington, DC, an associate of Queen Anne Street Practice, London, and an editorial board member of Couple & Family Psychoanalysis.

More titles by Damian McCann

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