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Ogden, T.H. (1996). The Perverse Subject of Analysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1121-1146.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:1121-1146

The Perverse Subject of Analysis

Thomas H. Ogden

In this paper I suggest that the analysis of perversion necessarily involves the elaboration and analysis of a perverse transference-countertransference. Both analyst and analysand contribute to and participate in the perverse transference-countertransference which intersubjective construction is powerfully shaped by the perverse structure of the patient's unconscious internal object world. In the fragment of an analysis that is presented, I illustrate the way in which the analyst makes use of his experience in (of) the transference-countertransference in gaining understanding of the perverse scenario that the patient is utilizing as a form of psychic organization, defense, communication, and object relatedness. I discuss the analyst's use of his own unobtrusive, mundane thoughts, feelings, fantasies, ruminations, sensations, and so on, in the service of understanding the perverse transference-countertransference, which understanding is utilized in the formulation of transference interpretations.

The perversity of the transference-countertransference is viewed as deriving from the patient's defensive use of particular forms of sexualization as a way of protecting himself or herself against the experience of psychological deadness. Compulsive erotization is understood as representing a method of creating an illusory sense of vitality. The subversion of the recognition of the experience of psychological deadness is achieved in part through compulsively enlisting others in the enactment of exciting, erotized, and often dangerous substitutes for the experience of being alive.

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