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Lester, M. (1960). Voyage from Lesbos. The Psychoanalysis of a Female Homosexual: By Richard C. Robertiello, M.D. New York: The Citadel Press, 1959. 253 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 29:579.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:579

Voyage from Lesbos. The Psychoanalysis of a Female Homosexual: By Richard C. Robertiello, M.D. New York: The Citadel Press, 1959. 253 pp.

Review by:
Milton Lester

This book describes the treatment of a homosexual woman by a method called by Dr. Robertiello psychoanalysis. He seems, however, to have taken the patient's statements at face value, overlooked their roots in unconscious fantasy, and proffered good will rather than analysis. For example, when the patient wishes to decrease the frequency of sessions and 'anticipates' that the doctor will angrily refuse this 'favor', he simply assures her that he 'certainly did not mean to be callous about it'. He shows the same attitude toward her acting out when, for example, he mentions that she beat her homosexual partners, but he never explores the meaning of this behavior. The author reveals that he instructed, reassured, persuaded, and praised the patient and that 'almost all of our sessions were spent analyzing her dreams'. This process included his explaining to her that 'a bridge is a sexual symbol' and then asking her 'to put together some of the symbols … and try to analyze it'. The patient would then 'guess' what the dream 'probably means', to which he would sometimes reply that she 'had done very well with it'. He also reports that he 'went over the Oedipal situation with her', informed her that she had a 'rejecting mother' who deprived her of milk, and told her that 'she is allowed to compete with contemporary women for a man. There should be no real guilt or danger attached to it.' The naïve pedagogy apparent in such remarks precludes our learning about the patient and results in a dull, mistitled book.

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