chapter  3
36 Pages

Step 2: Investigate the Triangle of Focus

When we study what couples actually say and do during the opening treatment sessions, meetings that proceed in a free-form manner-not structured, for example, by behavioral exercises or strategic assignments-the pairs almost inevitably gravitate toward three topic areas: (1) the fight, (2) the problematic character features of each of the pair, and (3) the family-oforigin dynamics of each. I call this naturally occurring, tripartite confluence the triangle of focus. The psychoanalytic principle of free association suggests that if these three subjects usually emerge intertwined with one another, as the clients speak spontaneously in the first few meetings, the three relate to each other in the unconscious of the participants.