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Rizzuto, A. (2009). Commentary on Eva Lester's “Gender and Identity Issues in The Analytic Process”. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 17(2):254-262.

(2009). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 17(2):254-262

Commentary on Eva Lester's “Gender and Identity Issues in The Analytic Process” Related Papers

Ana-María Rizzuto


The title of Dr. Lester's paper reveals her commitment to understanding the analytic process and the role that the gender of patient and analyst plays in the development and organization of the process itself and of the transference in an individual analysis. Most of her papers and the book she wrote with Glen Gabbard (1996) focus on the impact of the vicissitudes of psychosexual development on the psychoanalytic process and their impact on the analyst's capacity to tolerate the demands of the reawakened needs and desires of male and female patients. The papers also bring developmental clarity to the analysand's emerging needs and defences under the pressure of the dynamics of the analytic process. The paper I am commenting on explores the impact of pregenital emerging desires during the analytic process on the patient's dynamically experienced gender identity in the transference to a male or female analyst.

Dr. Lester's intellectual curiosity encompassed many facets of psychoanalysis, including the exploration of poetry, in particular Greek poetry. Yet the impact of gender on the type of transferential and counter-transferential feelings, wishes, fantasies, and convictions became a major focus of her interest. I believe that it is legitimate to ask about Eva's preference for that particular subject. As a friend of many years, I dare to look at it from the point of view of her particular circumstances. I believe that Eva's circumstances and my own contributed to our becoming friends, that is to say, to finding a natural commonality in our past experiences.

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