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Wassell, B.B. (1960). Aspects of Sexuality in Group Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 20(2):204-207.

(1960). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 20(2):204-207

Aspects of Sexuality in Group Psychoanalysis

Ben Bohdan Wassell, M.D.

Before discussing and comparing the emergence and therapeutic processing of sexual material in group and individual analysis, I would like to make some introductory remarks on the meaning of sexuality. The therapist has tended, in keeping with traditional scientific thinking, to correlate adult patterns with libidinal stages of genetic development in the infant. This line of reasoning rests on certain preconceived premises—as do all hypotheses. Thus, there may be the assumption, for instance, that oral activity always has to do with swallowing, with the drive to incorporate, and so forth. From the holistic view we see the infant as trying to express and expand all his potentialities. We can understand that he tries to grasp, examine, taste—to manage and master any object, and to develop himself through contact and involvement with people and objects around him. The younger infant, unable to grasp with only his hands, often needs his mouth simply to gain three points of reference. He may thus, in some instances, be less interested in swallowing per se; the adult might assume, however, that swallowing is the infant's only concern because he, the adult, would use his mouth only for this purpose. In formulating theory of behavior, the theorist tends to “adultomorphize”—to ascribe to the infant attitudes and feelings which would motivate an adult under similar circumstances. He applies these theoretical constructs, which are partly based on his own personal experience and projection, to the infant, in order to secondarily explain adult behavior.

Exhibitionism, as understood in an oedipal frame of reference, is assumed to have as its object the arousal of genital desire in the child and the parent of the opposite sex.

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