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Bodnar, S. (2006). “I'm in the Milk and the Milk's in Me”: Eros in the Clinical Relationship. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(1):45-69.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(1):45-69

“I'm in the Milk and the Milk's in Me”: Eros in the Clinical Relationship

Susan Bodnar, Ph.D.

This paper explores the unconscious communication of primary-process material in clinical work with a Latin American male that occurred while I was nursing my first child. Mutually dissociated aspects of self-experience became part of the relationship soon after an unexpected instance of “let-down.” The concept of Eros, the collection of life-preserving instincts that preserve and protect the body and mind—borrowed by Marcuse and other thinkers of the Frankfurt School to understand specifically the generative potential of consciousness—emerged as a helpful construct for understanding the transference and countertransference. Bowlby's notion of attachment, Fromm's social reconceptualization of drive, and Mitchell's integration of the biological and the social dimensions of drive all can be conceived as attesting to the powerful impetus to seek in others connections that create and enable a life structure. Eros in the therapeutic relationship can help recover dissociated elements of the individual, cultural, and political psyche.

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