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Sherwin, G.L. (2000). The Vicissitudes of the Eroticized and Erotic Transference and Countertransference in the Analysis of a Homosexual Woman by a Female Analyst. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(3):351-370.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(3):351-370

The Vicissitudes of the Eroticized and Erotic Transference and Countertransference in the Analysis of a Homosexual Woman by a Female Analyst

Gilda L. Sherwin, M.D.

This clinical presentation will focus on the eroticized and erotic transference as it developed in the course of the four years of analysis. I will try to address some of the struggles of the patient as well as of the analyst in dealing with and understanding the nature of the transference and its defensive function.

The patient is a homosexual woman in her midthirties, a fairly accomplished artist in her field of work, in a stable homosexual relationship for the past eight years. Ms. X consulted me originally because of severe depression with panic attacks and intrusive thoughts of stabbing herself, slashing her wrists, and, as she admitted weeks later, cutting off her breasts. These symptoms were triggered a month earlier by an incident at a prestigious artists colony. Feeling intoxicated by the very positive response to her work, Ms. X walked into a bar where she saw a famous woman artist known for her bisexual promiscuity. Whether fantasized or correctly perceived, mutual attraction made the patient “swoon” and she ran out from the bar to a nearby phone. In panic she called her lover and begged her to come and pick her up. She was terrified that she would not be able “to get back home.” That phrase, as we learned in the course of the treatment, represented not only the powerfully charged expression of a little girl's secret eroticized longing for the lost mother she barely knew, but also a wish to reclaim both of her abandoning and neglectful parents in reenactment of her fantasized primal scene.

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