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Adams-Silvan, A. (1998). The Analyst's Sexuality and the Analytic Process: Chaired by Owen Renik, San Francisco. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:790-793.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:790-793

The Analyst's Sexuality and the Analytic Process: Chaired by Owen Renik, San Francisco

Abby Adams-Silvan

Owen Renik opened the meeting by warmly welcoming the overflowing audience. He stressed that the topic of the analyst's sexuality was particularly difficult to discuss but that he looked forward to an open exchange of ideas and clinical experience.

Thierry Bokanowski began the formal presentations with his paper, ‘The analyst's infantile sexuality and the analytic process’. He first expressed the idea that ‘we can never know anything … about the “real sexuality” … of the analyst’. Available instead are the countertransference responses to the infantile sexuality of the patient, usually manifested as ‘blind spots’ or points of special tension. These, in turn, are related to the limits of the analyst's understanding of his own infantile sexuality and, most particularly, of his own infantile sexual theories. Bokanowski then addressed the significance of such countertransference issues with reference to three specific aspects of the day's topic: first, the defensive use of splitting as it influences the analyst's ability to listen to the manifestations of infantile sexuality; second, the importance of the ‘work of the analyst's bisexuality’; and third, dangers inherent in the failure of this bisexual work.

When such a failure occurs, he says, the analyst's own narcissistic pathology leads him to feel helpless and over-excited, especially when the patient demonstrates grave pathology. Despair follows and, after a series of specified dynamic movements, there comes to be a mutual demand for reparation, and the analyst may be driven to act out seductively with the patient.

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