The subject is emotional abuse—the ongoing process whereby one person attempts to destroy the will, needs, desires, or perceptions of another. The object is the well-educated, high-functioning professional woman.
Dr. Joan Lachkar examines the origins and early warning signs of the psychological violation she describes as a dance between abuser and abused. She goes on to introduce typologies of each (the narcissistic or passive-aggressive abuser, the unentitled self) and to explore the bases for their collusive attachments.
Addressing therapeutic functions like empathy, containment, and countertransference, and following a couple's evolution from a state of fusion through transitional two-ness to emerging separateness, dependent and interdependent, Dr. Lachkar applies her psychodynamic approach to treatment, informed by object relations and self psychology, and complete with guidelines for technique and practical suggestions for the couple.
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"Dr. Lachkar does a masterful job of focusing on emotional abuse, which is generally sidelined when abuse is discussed. Her classification of personalities in marriages is intriguing. Since this is a book that integrates rich theory with vivid case examples and also elaborates treatment issues, every practitioner engaged in couple therapy should read it."—Vimala Pillari, D.S.W., L.C.S.W., director, Graduate School of Social Work, Kansas Newman College
"The issue addressed here has created much pain and disorganization in families. The book's importance lies in the author's unique and excellent insights into the internal dynamics of individuals involved in abusive relationships, and how those personal dynamics lock them into old and unfulfillable expectations. For anyone involved in treating the abused and the abuser, it provides crucial guidelines for successful interventions."—Rafael Art. Javier, Ph.D., director, Center for Psychological Services, St. John's University, Jamaica, New York.
About the Author:
Joan Lachkar, Ph.D., maintains a private practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Southern California, where she also teaches in workshops and extension courses.