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Renn, P. (2013). Moments of Meeting: The Relational Challenges of Sexuality in the Consulting Room. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(2):135-153.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(2):135-153

Clinical Practice

Moments of Meeting: The Relational Challenges of Sexuality in the Consulting Room

Paul Renn

In this paper, I explore the relational challenges of sexuality in the consulting room, as informed by developmental studies and ‘moments’ theory, and discuss the contentious issue of self-disclosure. I acknowledge that there has been a hiatus in recent decades in the discussion of psychosexuality in psychoanalysis, linked to a shift from Freud's drive theory to post-Freudian developmental theories, as well as to the change in the role of the therapist that this has entailed. While I also acknowledge that these changes have resulted in a certain de-eroticization and de-sexualization of psychoanalysis, I point to research showing that sexuality is, in fact, very much alive in the consulting room, but also to a gap in training on such issues, and to a concomitant lacuna in the literature discussing sexual attraction between therapist and patient. Before discussing the ethical and relational challenges of sexuality in the consulting room, I summarize the evolution of sexuality in psychoanalytic thinking and briefly discuss relevant developmental perspectives. I question the view that a developmental model is not suited to effectively working with sexual material. I illustrate theoretical points with a clinical case study, a development of previously published work (Renn, 2012).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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