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Wrye, H.K. (1999). Introduction. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(1):3-6.

(1999). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(1):3-6

Panel: Embranglements on the Maternal Erotic Playground

Introduction Related Papers

Harriet Kimble Wrye, Ph.D.

“Embranglement,” according to the Oxford Universal Dictionary, refers to “entanglement and perplexity in inexplicable difficulties” (p. 599). Synonyms include tangle, snare, puzzle, Gordian knot, rumple, enmeshment, muddle, discomposure, embroilment, labyrinth, web, jungle, wilderness, quagmire, seduction, embarrassment (Rodale, 1978). Erotic embranglements can lead to enactments that, unanalyzed, too often result in impasse, and treatment derailments. The three papers and discussion to follow take up this topic from a variety of perspectives.

Much has been written about erotic yearning and about erotic transferences and countertransferences. Freud first identified the phenomenon, citing it as an analytic problem when erotic longings derailed both Fraulein Anna O, and Breuer's capacity to tolerate the treatment (1915). The early classical paradigm of erotic transference was that typically it was oedipally oriented, female patient to male analyst, disruptive, and needed to be “managed.” Freud needed to protect his fledgling studies from dismissal by medical science and Victorian piety; he had to move from a hands on, hypnotic cure to the resolution of unconscious conflict through the “talking cure.” In so doing, he made psychoanalytic techniques of analytic regression and free association the cornerstone of his ideas.

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