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Trop, J.L. (1988). Erotic and Eroticized Transference: A Self Psychology Perspective. Psychoanal. Psychol., 5(3):269-284.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 5(3):269-284

Erotic and Eroticized Transference: A Self Psychology Perspective

Jeffery L. Trop, M.D.

The purpose of this article is to elucidate the contributions of self psychology to the understanding of the erotic and eroticized transference. Aspects of two cases are discussed, which illustrate the differences between these two transference configurations. Eroticized transference emerges when selfobject longings for mirroring are eroticized. Self-esteem in these patients is defensively structured around a capacity to engender sexual excitement in another person. The interpretive process should reflect an awareness of sexuality as a defensive substitute for other selfobject longings and a genetic understanding of the specific absence of responsiveness to other aspects of the self. Erotic transference emerges in a very different manner. These patients begin to develop sexual feelings for the therapist as a revived longing for a response to the sexual aspect of the self. It is an attempt to resume a normal developmental pathway and consolidate a sexual sense of self. The family background of these patients reflects an absence of affirming responses in regard to physical qualities and sexuality.

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