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Scott, A. (2014). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(4):419-421.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(4):419-421


Ann Scott

This issue of the BJP opens with a synoptic overview of current thinking on perversion. As Heather Wood acknowledges, in ‘Working with problems of perversion’, psychoanalytic psychotherapists increasingly find themselves ‘treating patients who present with problems of compulsive sexual behaviour or sexual perversions’. Acknowledging that the nature of perversion as a category remains under debate, Wood argues persuasively that any contemporary theory of perversion needs to encompass the interpersonal and intrapsychic dimensions, as well as the issue of meaning and of the bodily experiences themselves. She brings to bear her considerable experience of work at the Portman Clinic, in a most sensitive way, to delineate six key themes within the work with this group of patients. Of particular interest may be the close attention Wood gives to the relationship between the clinician's conceptualization of the individual situation (in terms of psychopathology and transference/countertransference dynamics) and the implications this has for technique and clinical priority. She also acknowledges the difficulty for the therapist, who can be ‘seduced into the role of excited voyeur, rather than maintaining the stance of a neutral therapist with an enquiring mind’. Encouragingly, however, she concludes that there is scope for ‘real contact and productive work’ when the ‘underlying anxieties or phantasies that drive pathological behaviours’ are recognized.

[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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