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Gabbard, G.O. (1994). On Love and Lust in Erotic Transference. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:385-403.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:385-403

On Love and Lust in Erotic Transference

Glen O. Gabbard, M.D.


Intense erotic transference is one of the most powerful and challenging phenomena in clinical psychoanalysis. Powerful longings for love and for sexual gratification are likely to elicit enactments in the analytic setting that interfere with the analyst's ability to maintain a dual state of awareness in which he or she is both a participant in and an observer of the immediate experience with the patient. These enactments occur on a continuum from frank love affairs between patient and analyst to subtle forms of partial transference gratification. Moreover, the two primary elements in the manifest content of erotic transference—love and lust—may be dissociated from one another and may produce significantly different reactions in the analyst.

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