chapter  20
9 Pages

Working with the Collective Marital Self

The therapist who works toward strengthening the marital bond (or toward dissolving it) does not attend to a simple "one-plus-one" situation. Since the pioneering work of Nathan Ackerman in the 1950s, family therapy and marital therapy have been conceptualized in terms of an overall dynamic. In an important sense, it is the family as a whole, or the marriage as an entity (a collective "impaired self'') that is the patient.