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Cohler, B.J. (2000). From Pathology to Normality in Understanding Gay Lives: Issues Posed by Jack Drescher's Contribution. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 5(3):221-248.

(2000). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 5(3):221-248

From Pathology to Normality in Understanding Gay Lives: Issues Posed by Jack Drescher's Contribution

Bertram J. Cohler, M.D.

This paper briefly reviews changes taking place in psychoanalytic understanding of same gender socioerotic desire in the context of social changes taking place over the past quarter century. Focusing on the interplay of social life and expression of same gender desire, this paper questions biological studies regarding the determinants of this desire as an essential category. Psychoanalytic intervention focuses on the meanings of same gender desire without prior assumption or moral value, as with all aspects of lived experience. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is directed at fostering enhanced integration of this same gender sexual desire with the whole of lived experience, and with the goal of helping the patient to realize an enhanced sense of personal vitality and integrity. Since therapist and patient inevitably share the heterosexist norms of our society, the therapist must pay particular attention to his or her own feelings and attitudes in helping the patient to realize his own goals in a more successful integration of his sexuality.

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