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Kolb, L.C. Johnson, A.M. (1955). Etiology and Therapy of Overt Homosexuality. Psychoanal Q., 24:506-515.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:506-515

Etiology and Therapy of Overt Homosexuality

Lawrence C. Kolb, M.D. and Adelaide M. Johnson, M.D.

Although the origin of latent homosexuality has been discussed frequently in psychoanalytic literature, there has been no definition of those factors that lead to the eruption of overt homosexuality. Many patients have strong latent homosexual impulses, but do not act out these impulses, just as many neurotics show tendencies to destroy, set fires, or steal, yet never carry out these actions. This paper attempts to define the impetus that leads to acting out of homosexuality.


Research by Szurek and Johnson showed that such antisocial behavior in children as repeated stealing and arson is stimulated by similar antisocial impulses in their parents. Collaborative therapy of children and parents makes it clear that parents unwittingly seduce their children into expression of the parents' own forbidden impulses, thus giving the parent unconscious vicarious gratification. A specific defect in the child's superego duplicates a similar distortion in the personality of the parent. Such children and their parents show various degrees of neurotic as well as antisocial behavior, but emphasis in Johnson and Szurek's research was on the specific source of the permission to act out and the reasons for the permission.

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