Intimate partners: A context for the intensification and healing of emotional pain
A case of a lesbian couple is presented in which one partner experienced early sexual abuse and the other a series of major losses (beginning with the death of her mother) in early childhood. The first partner developed an alcohol addiction and the second a high level of emotional lability and some practices of self-harm. Both partners developed dissociative patterns. The couple is now in a committed relationship and have continued in therapy for the last 9 months, with sessions gradually becoming less frequent. The therapeutic work has included the "externalization" of the problem(s), some individual work within the couple session using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and a strong emphasis on the development of empathic skill through the technique of "becoming" the other person. The case reveals the way in which a primary relationship often surfaces intense unresolved feelings and dysfunctional relationship practices, and also the way in which emotional commitment and a structure for the couple becoming therapeutic agents to each other allows for a deep level of healing. The couple comments on their relationship process and the therapeutic process as part of the article.
Original Work Citation
Snyder, M. (1996, December). Intimate partners: A context for the intensification and healing of emotional pain. Women and Therapy, 19(3), 79-92. doi:10.1300/J015v19n03_08
“Intimate partners: A context for the intensification and healing of emotional pain,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 16, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17535.