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Fain, M. Marty, P. (1960). The Synthetic Function of Homosexual Cathexis in the Treatment of Adults. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:401-406.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:401-406

The Synthetic Function of Homosexual Cathexis in the Treatment of Adults

Michel Fain and Pierre Marty

The last ten years have witnessed a considerable evolution in the concept and interpretation of homosexuality. It would therefore seem useful to describe this development in the psycho-analytic treatment of adults, which has finally led to a pregenital interpretation along lines indicated by Freud. This trend is in the nature of a synthesis of certain conflicting clinical data which, ten years ago, were bound to confuse any psycho-analyst on the threshold of his career. We shall be relying mainly on French research, partly to relate our description as closely as possible to our own experience, and partly because this synthesizing trend in the study of homosexuality in transference has assumed in France its most characteristic form.

The Problem of Homosexuality Ten Years Ago

There existed, side by side, two distinct theories; both equally well supported by clinical observation:

i. Homosexuality was a defence mechanism set up by the ego, in regard to an unresolved fear of castration and a positive Oedipus conflict.

ii. It was, in itself, a drive, as described by Freud in The Wolf-man, and corresponded to a biological attitude which, on the one hand, encountered a negative Oedipus conflict and, on the other, a narcissistic refusal by the ego to accept its function of creating an object relationship. On this point Freud allowed it to be understood that acceptance was the unconscious equivalent of a castration wish which, ipso facto, entailed its repression.

The simultaneous existence of these two concepts, according to which one and the same attitude might lead to such radically different results, could not avoid creating some confusion in the mind of the young analyst.

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