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Newbigin, J. (2013). Psychoanalysis and Homosexuality: Keeping the Discussion Moving. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(3):276-291.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(3):276-291

Sexual Diversity

Psychoanalysis and Homosexuality: Keeping the Discussion Moving

Juliet Newbigin

This paper contributes to the debate following the British Psychoanalytic Council's 2012 conference, ‘Homosexuality and Psychoanalysis: Moving On’ and their Position Statement on Homosexuality. After two world wars psychoanalysts, concerned to establish the credentials of their discipline, sought a more settled definition of sexual ‘normality’ than that of Freud, which ‘naturalized’ a heterosexual view of gender difference. Extending one aspect of Freud's thinking, homosexuality became accepted as evidence of a developmental retreat, even as a fixation at the oral stage of relating. As an identity founded on rejection of the reproductive ‘reality’ of the body, it was seen as a borderline condition. An individual who did not regard it as a problem to be cured was understood to be maintaining a perverse denial of their pathology. Same sex object-choice was narcissistic and led to the formation of unstable patterns of relating. In this paper I hope to show that psychoanalysis has in the past developed a theoretical bias that has distorted its view of the experience of lesbians and gay men and, in detecting and questioning this bias, we have an opportunity to make our discipline more open and responsive to the complex society we live in.

[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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