Erotic Transferences, Countertransferences and Perverse Scenarios

It has been said that psychoanalysis is all about sex; except for sex – that’s about aggression. This workshop aims to ‘put sexuality back in psychoanalytic theorizing’ in both early formulations (as in the maternal erotic) and to delineate a place for pure erotic longing, along with the illustration of the variety of forms of homo-erotic and hetero-erotic desires. This workshop also reconceptualizes and restores the term perversion into the clinical lexicon. By viewing perversion on a structural level (as a quality of relating rather than a specific action or behavior), the term is both narrowed and reformulated so that it may be (paradoxically) more broadly applied.

Case illustrations of erotic material will be used as examples of phases in treatment as well as moments of defensive impasse. Clinical material will be examined from both classical and contemporary perspectives in terms of theoretical understanding and technical considerations. Countertransference difficulties, including the handling of erotic countertransferences will be discussed.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the program the student will be able to:

1) Identify and explore aspects of erotic transferences and countertransferences, especially as these relate to the multiple meanings underlying erotic transferences as a defensive structure.

2) Explore the ways in which the analyst’s countertransference can foster or inhibit the emergence of the full intensity of erotic transferences at different phases of the treatment.

3) Differentiate various meanings of perversion and delineate useful definitions that include sadomasochistic dynamics.

4) Identify common sequellae of trauma that may be reenacted in the clinical setting.

Suggested Readings

Fonagy, P. (2008). A genuinely developmental theory of sexual enjoyment and its implications for psychoanalytic technique.  JAPA, 56:11-36.

Celenza, A. (2006). The threat of male to female erotic transference.  JAPA, 54:1207-1232.

Wrye, H.K. & Welles, J.K. (1994). The maternal erotic transference.  In The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences, pp. 33-60, Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.

Bolognini, S. (1994). Transference: erotized, erotic, loving, affectionate.  International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75:73-86.

Parsons, M. (2000).  Sexuality and perversion a hundred years on: Discovering what Freud discovered.  Int J Psa, 81:37-49.

Stoller, R.J. (1975). Hostility and mystery in perversion.  In Stoller, R.J. (1975). Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred.  NY: Karnac, pp. 92-113.

Kaplan, L. (1997). Female perversions: The temptations of Emma Bovary.  [FILM]

Novick, J. & Novick, K.K. (1996).  Masochism and the delusion of omnipotence.  In Novick and Novick, Fearful Symmetry: The Development and Treatment of Sadomasochism. pp. 48-69,  NY: J. Aronson.

Chassageut-Smirgel, J. (1983).  Perversion and the universal law.  Int Rev Psa,  10:293-301.