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Yakeley, J. (2017). Editorial. Psychoanal. Psychother., 31(2):137-139.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 31(2):137-139



Jessica Yakeley

Cyber suicide and transgender identities are contemporary phenomena that rightly attract much attention and concern, yet which test the limits of our comprehensibility. The individual who explores suicidal fantasies online, and the transgender person who is unhappy with their biological sex, challenge not only commonly held beliefs that in the natural order, living should be prioritised over dying, and genetically determined gender is more ‘real’ than reassignment to the opposite gender, but also more fundamentally challenge our dichotomous conceptualisations of life vs. death and male vs. female. Understanding suicide or transgender issues necessitates a more nuanced attitude, a fluidity in our thinking that allows consideration of a middle area, a transitional space where ideas can be shared, explored and played with, even in matters of life and death, rather than immobilised in psychic spaces that remain cut-off and hidden due to fears of rejection and repudiation.

The first two papers in this issue of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy address these contentious issues from a psychoanalytic perspective, and in doing so, confront existing psychoanalytic theories and practice which may be perceived as inhibiting the patient’s sense of agency or choice. In ‘What’s in a name? A psychoanalytic exploration’, Rachel Rodgers and John O’Connor describe their study seeking to understand how gender identity and a sense of self develop in six transgender individuals through exploration of their lived experience.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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