Many clinicians have discussed marital problems and couple therapy from a psychodynamic perspective.1 They (and I):

• believe that understanding and remediating negative couple interactions requires uncovering individual psychological issues;

• adhere to modern psychoanalytic thinking and research in positing unconscious schemas of self and other in interaction;

• emphasize that abnormal, maladaptive behavior makes sense when examined through the lenses of important, often unconscious, human motives, fears, and defenses;

• attend, to varying degrees, to concerns and conflicts over trust, dependency, autonomy, shame, guilt, identity, honesty, and intimacy;

• focus on sex and aggression, love and hate as highly charged forms of human interaction;

• highlight the formative influence of childhood experiences, as well as later life experiences in intimate relationships, in establishing the structure of personality, including the shaping of expectations, motives, and methods of adapting;

• hold that underlying issues and concerns are often defensively concealed and may reveal themselves indirectly, in seemingly random thoughts or casual remarks (associations), in dreams, in symptomatic behavior, and in patterns of interaction with others (transferences);

• view therapists’ emotional responses to clients (countertransferences) as valuable in assessing relational patterns and as potential obstacles to therapy;

• believe that curative therapy includes a mix of increasing self-awareness (insight) and experiencing more positive ways of relating to others;

• consider the therapist to be crucial to creating a safe environment for selfdiscovery and for transformative experiences, some of which involve the therapist-client relationship itself.