The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences
Samuels suggests that the absence of the erotic may mean that transformation from impulse to taboo cannot take place; that if the therapist is cut off from his or her unconscious he or she will not be able to use the countertransference to effect such a transformation. Specifically, Dora, by means of this process, might have perceived Freud less as an embodied repetition of Herr K, and thus might not have terminated her analysis prematurely.
On the one hand there is the danger of repressing, denying, and splitting off feelings, leading to displacement or projection on to the patient; on the other, lies the danger of being overwhelmed by the erotic feelings and, therefore, of acting out with the patient. He asserts that the intensity with which erotic desires impress themselves on the therapist is the most useful indication of their relative importance at any given time in the analytic situation.
For instance, in the clinical example of D, Mann expresses surprise that it was some months before he felt any sexual attraction for his patient.
Was this, as he maintains, because D was censoring her eroticism and sexual desire in the early part of the work? It may be argued, therefore, that, essentially, Mann is viewing the erotic component of the relationship as residing in D. Although the fear of transgressing boundaries was openly discussed between Mann and D, Mann does not seem to have considered the influence he was having on the development of the erotized relationship. To this extent, I felt that a subtle one-person psychology was in operation, rather than a process of intersubjectivity that Mann claims to espouse.
The latter perspective assumes that mutual influence is happening at all times between the patient and the therapist. In line with Benjamin, I view this interactive process as operating both within the intrapsychic and the interpersonal realms of relating - as consisting of an interplay between the intrasubjective and the intersubjective.
Thus there is no mention in this paper of the model of transference informed by a dyadic systems view of communication in which mutual or bi-directional influence is seen as playing an important part in organizing individual behaviour.
Given his strictures against self-disclosure, I am assuming that such feelings were not shared, as Mann would deem this as burdening E inappropriately. In relation to the case of E, Mann argues that establishing clear analytic boundaries begins by knowing what belongs to the therapist and what to the patient. However, if it is accepted that erotic feelings and desires are properties both of the emergent dyadic relationship and of the stable individual characteristics of the patient and the therapist, how is it possible to know with any degree of certitude what belongs to whom?
The adoption of a theoretical position which holds that such knowledge is possible would, again, seem to reflect a predominantly one-person psychology, rather than an intersubjective perspective wherein knowledge, in the form of individual meaning, is negotiated and co-created as part of a collaborative process of mutual influence. Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article. I am a relational psychoanalytic psychotherapist and author in private practice in central and south west London see below in 'Extra Information' for details of my practice addresses.
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Therapeutic Love and Its Permutations
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Industry Reviews "I believe that this work successfully addresses a very important issue in infant development, in psychoanalytic theory, and in clinical practice - the infant's sense of proper entitlement to an appropriate erotic launching of his or her career as a human being - and of its being candidly validated in the trial countersubjective response in that foremost of existential 'rewrites,' psychoanalysis itself.
Introduction Words and Stories in Narrative Space p. All Rights Reserved. In Stock. Maps of Meaning The Architecture of Belief. Sacred Contracts. The Red Book Philemon. Attachment in Psychotherapy. Answer to Job Jung Extracts. Owning Your Own Shadow. When The Past Is Present.
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