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Leader, C. (2014). Turned on: Romantic Love, Psychoanalysis and our Attachments to New and Social Media. Free Associations, 15(2):67-87.

(2014). Free Associations, 15(2):67-87

Turned on: Romantic Love, Psychoanalysis and our Attachments to New and Social Media

Carol Leader

This paper uses a psychoanalytic lens to consider the impact of new and social media (SNS) on relationships, intimacy and romantic love. It considers the unconscious factors that underlie our burgeoning and sometimes rather desperate attachments to modern, mobile technologies. Although Freud tended to see romance as a sign of infantile and regressed behavior, more contemporary analysts and psychotherapists question this view seeing romance as an important element of mature relationships and a vital aspect of psychosocial development. While the growth of social and new media can be simplistically demonized, the writer suggests these developments are an important reflection of Hopper's social unconscious with its emphasis on culture and a wider connectivity than the purely personal. Prensky's research proposes that the rapid dissemination of digital technology has created a discontinuity between digital natives and digital immigrants with accompanying changes in brain function. the paper suggests that dysfunctional patterns of attachment stemming from inadequate early care have a considerable impact on a person's inner world leading at times to a psychic retreat and problems with using new and social media creatively and romantically. A number of short case examples from clinical practice illustrate the central themes.

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