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Lindenbaum, J.P. (2004). Infecting the treatment: Being an HIV-positive analyst Gilbert Cole Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 2002. 232 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):1023-1026.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):1023-1026

Infecting the treatment: Being an HIV-positive analyst Gilbert Cole Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 2002. 232 pp.

Review by:
Joyce P. Lindenbaum

The title of Gilbert Cole's book was intriguing and a bit off-putting to me. Intriguing, because I was interested in the metaphor of infection, and how it would be used to elaborate the analyst's impact on his patient—on the analytic process. Intriguing, because the author's infection was HIV/AIDS: the-virus-that-dare-not-speak-its-name. It is more common—more acceptable perhaps—in the psychoanalytic literature to write, say, about cancer. But, of course, cancer is not an infectious disease. Cancer cannot be sexually transmitted. The psychoanalyst who has cancer is not likely to have been previously marginalized—even still excluded, pathologized—by psychoanalytic institutions, psychoanalytic culture. My associations to this title had to do with a destructive, even deadly, contamination of the analytic process on the part of the analyst—any analyst; as well as the transmission of something benign, productive, creative—as in infectious, contagious laughter. My associations were about sex: gay sex, the analyst's sexuality, the interpenetrations of transferences and countertransferences, creative psychoanalytic intercourse. ‘Psychoanalysis theorizes sex’, I thought to myself, ‘but it doesn't help us talk about it.’ We may listen, or wait for, or even ask our patients to reveal their (sexual) desires and fantasies, but we almost never discuss our participation in the act.

My wariness had to do with a presumption that this could be another ‘psychoanalytic memoir’, another ‘Tales from behind the couch’.

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