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Flax, M. White, J.G. (1998). The Erotic Spell: Women Analysts Working with Male Patients. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(1):5-31.

(1998). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 3(1):5-31

The Erotic Spell: Women Analysts Working with Male Patients

Michelle Flax, Ph.D. and J. Gail White, Ph.D.

This paper responds to the paucity of reports in the fliterature on women analysts' countertransference feelings in working with male patients, especially with regard to erotic transferences. It is proposed that gender and developmental issues are determinants in the woman analyst's countertransference affects. Five themes arising out of the clinical data are presented. The authors suggest that the woman analyst may inhibit the full unfolding of the erotic transference for various reasons, for example the fear of being seen as seductive, or her discomfort with the inversion of the normative power pattern that this dyad dictates. It is suggested that the “erotic spell” should be maintained long enough for the transferencecountertransference configuration to be fully experienced, understood, and articulated. Both involvement and detachment are central to this process.

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