Emerging from Narcissism towards Marriage

By James V. Fisher

"A fascinating and imaginative book combining psychoanalytic theory and literature - in particular classic plays about marriage and married couples - to help couples therapists as they piece together their clients' histories and stories during the therapeutic process. A profound yet accessible guide of interest to clinicians and non-clinicians alike."



`James Fisher takes his title from the mysterious figure of T.S. Elliot's play The Cocktail Party. He identifies himself with this theatrical representation of a 'marital therapist' in order to conduct his own review of what he convincingly tells us is Elliot's internal account of his first marriage to Vivienne High-Wood. It forms the centre-piece of his book. He does it from the vantage point of a distinguished marital psychoanalytic psychotherapist who is willing to delve into English literature as he is into the psychoanalytic literature. Readers will get the benefit of his considerable knowledge and enthusiasm for both.'

Ronald Britton, Training and Supervising Analyst, British Psycho-Analytical Society


`The Uninvited Guests is wonderful to read at many levels. I found the book enjoyable and useful from the very first chapter on for working with individuals as well as couples. I particularly like the stretching of the mind to think about psychoanalytic theory, playwrights, literature, and couples, integrating them as a couple therapist has to integrate the couples' histories, their stories, and here-and-now of what is going on in a session. I look forward to using it in teaching couples therapists.'
Joyce Lowenstein, Vice Chair, Psychoanalytic Object Relations Family & Couple Psychotherapy Training Program Washington School of psychiatry, Washington DC


`This is a fascinating, complex, and imaginative book. James Fisher brings together a deep thoughtfulness about the insights of psychoanalysis and its applications to work with troubled couples, with an original and closely argued reading of some classic plays about marriage. Marriage is hauntingly described as the "inheritor of the tension and the intimacy of the Oedipal drama", and this makes the marital relationship such a potent place for therapeutic intervention, as well as for exploration in drama. The book is a tour de force of clinical and theoretical thinking and will give pleasure and much food for thought to readers interested in psychoanalysis and literature.'
Margaret Rustin, Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Tavistock & Portman clinics


`This is a profound yet accessible book of interest to clinicians and non-clinicians alike.'
Gillian Walton, Director of Training and Clinical Services, London Marriage Guidance Clinic


Foreword: Alberto Hahn

Chapter 1: The Winter's Tale: marriage and re-marriage

Chapter 2: The false-self couple: seeking truth and being true

Chapter 3: The gathering of the transference

Chapter 4: Duet for one? Two people or a couple?

Chapter 5: Separations and the capacity to mourn

Chapter 6: That which couples bring to therapy

Chapter 7: Couple stories and couple dreams

Chapter 8: The uninvited guest

Chapter 9: Hell is oneself, the others merely projections

Chapter 10: Making the best of a bad job

Chapter 11: A sado-masochistic folie à deux

Chapter 12: Termination: Othello's version of Elliot's "two ways"


Author : James Fisher

Publisher : Karnac Books

Published : 1999

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