A Psychosocial Exploration of Love and Intimacy by Joanne Brown (auth.)

By Joanne Brown (auth.)

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P. 23) The function of romantic love, in this context, can be likened to the function of an autobiography (as described by Gusdorf): ‘a theodicy of individual being, doubting its own value … making a reconciliation to self’ (p. 39). Berger and Kellner imply that pre-industrial life shielded people from a sense of this anomie, because it was a collectivist society, which they depict in a romantic light (‘the same social life pulsated through the house, the street and the community’, p. 8). By contrast, they depict the now isolated conjugal family unit as living in an impersonal global public sphere (see p.

This is similar to the kind of writing that clinical work demands, because it is expressive of learning from the experience of the self in the world. Learning from experience and learning by the book are not necessarily mutually exclusive exercises, of course, but the rhetoric of science which is implicit in academic writing and research (hypothesis, method and results) and the modes of creative expression encouraged in object relations psychoanalysis can be difficult to reconcile. What we can see from this brief discussion is that psychosocial research that incorporates the tenets of object relations psychoanalysis stimulates a reflexive relation to empirical and conceptual work.

Did I implicitly position or present myself as someone who would know in rich detail what the secrets of a good relationship are? Did I, in any way, believe that by writing about loneliness, jealousy, vanity, the capacity to be alone, to be modest and generous that I would traverse the all-important developmental threshold from narcissism to a more honourable concern for others? Or did my very choice of this subject of study reveal my own struggle with how to mitigate jealousy, envy and hate with something less convoluted, messy and shameful?

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