Transference, Love, Being – Essential Essays from the Field

Transference, Love, Being: Essential Essays from the Field by Andrea Celenza, Ph.D

Through a series of expansive essays, this book explores the centrality of love in psychoanalytic practice. Starting with the immersion of the analyst, this book reimagines several aspects of the psychoanalytic process, including transference, countertransference, boundaries, embodiment, subjectivity and eroticism. To love is to cultivate to be…

Psychoanalysis, as essentially vitalizing, is a playspace for taboo subjects within clear and safe parameters. Interweaving loving, being and perceiving, this book provides challenging new perspectives on the analyst’s subjectivity, receptivity and its immersive influence on analytic process.

These essays refine theoretical understandings of the irreducible and omnipresent nature of love in psychoanalysis, thereby offering clarity to psychoanalysts, psychodynamic therapists and scholars through the often-prohibited love and eroticism, here viewed as indispensable to psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Table of Contents

Part I – Transference

  1.  Transference, real or unreal
  2.   Paradox in the psychoanalytic stance
  3.   The historically fetishized couch
  4.   Changes in the frame
  5.   Safety, danger, couch, chair
  6.   The analyst as objectified other
  7.   The analyst as subjective object
  8.  The analyst as subject
  9.  Where is psychoanalysis?
  10.   The nature of boundaries
  11.   Sexual boundary violations and theoretical orientation
  12.   The inadvertent pluralist
  13.   The art of the boundary
  14.   Stance and attentional set in analytic listening
  15.   Directed attentional set
  16.   Diffuse attentional set
  17.   Stance, set, transference

Part II – Love

  1.   The erotic field
  2.   The maternal erotic transference
  3.   From a foreclosed void to usable space
  4.   The fate of feminine signifiers
  5.   Le visage de la mère
  6.   Identificatory love and object love
  7.   The promise that seduces desire
  8.   The phenomenal experience of touch
  9.   Embodied countertransference
  10.   What, where is home

Part III – Being

  1.   The unbearable multiplicity of experience
  2.   On empathic resonance
  3.   Embodiment and the perversion of desire
  4.   Perversion and its qualities of being
  5.   Transitional perverse scenarios
  6.   Psychic positions, healthy and perverse
  7.   Reverie, countertransference, retranscription
  8.   Mutual influence in contemporary film
  9.   To be in it with
  10.   “Yes and ….” dreams


“Celenza brings our contemporary field once more in touch with love, in all its many splendored psychic manifestations. With creativity and exquisite attunement [she] draws together many of her exciting theoretical and clinical ideas into a beautifully written text, alive with arresting case examples. Her book should be a part of every core curriculum in psychoanalytic training institutes and in teaching trainees across all the mental health disciplines.”

Rosemary H. Balsam, author of Women’s Bodies in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2012), Winner, Sigourney Award for Excellence in Psychoanalysis

“This volume really contributes to a useful advancement of the psychoanalytic instrumentarium in a traditionally hostile and dangerous field. Celenza has been able to [adopt] an authentic scientific attitude with a natural, happy integration of competence and humanity. Her work reads so well and with pleasure. It is clear, touching, substantive and convincing.”

Stefano Bolognini, Bologna, Italy; author of Vital Flows Between Self and Not-Self (forthcoming, Routledge)

“Reading this book is the literary equivalent of having dinner at the best tapas restaurant in town. Celenza offers us 37 very brief essays on the subject of love in all the guises. The length doesn’t limit their substance. The result is a highly stimulating collection that will delight clinicians, patients, teachers and scholars alike.”

Donnel Stern, author of The Infinity of the Unsaid: Unformulated Experience, Language, and the Nonverbal (Routledge, 2018)

“Interwoven with gripping clinical vignettes, Celenza translates sophisticated theorizing into a vitalized and relevant real-world grounding. With gripping clinical vignettes, these intriguing essays are faithful to her Italian origins. I highly recommend this remarkable book to all professionals in the field and those who work in the humanities, curious to know more about contemporary psychoanalysis.”

Giuseppe Civitarese, Pavia, Italy; author of Sublime Subjects:Aesthetic Experience and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2017)