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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Abbasi, A. (2008). Sensuality and Sexuality Across the Divide of Shame by Joseph D. Lichtenberg The Analytic Press, New York, London, 2008; 160 pp; $90. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(6):1270-1274.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(6):1270-1274

Sensuality and Sexuality Across the Divide of Shame by Joseph D. Lichtenberg The Analytic Press, New York, London, 2008; 160 pp; $90

Review by:
Aisha Abbasi

This slim volume, the twenty-fifth in the Psychoanalytic Inquiry book series, is composed of a brief, crisp introduction by Lichtenberg, followed by eight chapters. Part of the foundation of this work is built upon Lichtenberg's earlier work on the theory of motivational systems (Lichtenberg, 1988), while many other parts draw upon his background in ego and self psychology, as well as perspectives from relational, intersubjective and family systems approaches. In addition, attachment research, gender identity research and the author's observations of sociological and cultural trends are also used to describe and explain certain ideas.

Earlier, Lichtenberg (1988) proposed five motivational-functional systems as psychic structures, based on infant research and theory. These included the need to fulfill physiological requirements, the need for attachment/affiliation, the need for assertion/exploration, the need to react aversively through antagonism and/or withdrawal, and the need for sensual/sexual pleasure. In a later paper (Lichtenberg, 1993) on the empathic mode of listening, he further delineated the aims and affect goals of each system. The motivational system based on the need for sensual/sexual pleasure was seen as focused on the development of a core gender identity, soothing down versus excitement and leading towards the choice of a loved person, with its affect goal being sensual pleasure and sexual excitement.

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