Alain Valtier

Lonely Together Publication date : February 1, 2003

A couple can no longer get along. Everything else having failed, they decide to talk to a psychotherapist, someone who will listen to them and try to help them. Gradually, as the sessions progress, the real cause of the crisis begins to emerge, which, in most cases, is a far cry from the cause evoked during the first session.

Alain Valtier describes the cases of twelve couples who came to him seeking help because they had reached a dead end in their relationship. He describes a variety of different scenarios: couples in distress, impossible partnerships, couples on the verge of separating, passionate couples and false partners. And yet, strangely, each case eventually zooms in on another couple, the parental couple, each patient’s original family.

Perhaps most of our problems with our partner are caused by the traces left by our original family. If such is the case, we must overthrow the original inherited model and invent our own model.

But before we can live as part of a couple, shouldn’t we learn to live alone?

Alain Valtier is a psychoanalyst specialising in psychotherapy for couples.