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(1962). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: The Significance of the Sense of Smell in the Transference. Jean R. Rosenbaum. Pp. 312-324.. Psychoanal Q., 31:293.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: The Significance of the Sense of Smell in the Transference. Jean R. Rosenbaum. Pp. 312-324.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:293

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: The Significance of the Sense of Smell in the Transference. Jean R. Rosenbaum. Pp. 312-324.

Smell, as a special sense, is present from birth. It has an autonomy of its own, an active and passive component, and is associated with all levels of psychosexual development. The author demonstrates with clinical material the occurrence of active and passive olfactory experiences which appear as defensive, regressive phenomena in the Oedipal transference. In the cases cited the sense of smell increased or decreased with the arousal of the patients' genital impulses and the associated conflicts.

A twenty-five-year-old man who equated his nose with a genital realized, on observing that the analyst's wife was cooking pot roast with celery, that his sense of smell had disappeared early in his adolescence; at that time he was overtly hostile toward his mother and was attempting to replace her with his first serious adolescent love affair. The return of his sense of smell was the first sign of positive Oedipal strivings in the transference.

A divorced woman, who considered the natural female odor to be that of rot and decay, attempted to deny her castrated status and to defend herself against her passive feminine and Oedipal strivings by dousing perfume into all her body crevices and skin folds, including the paralabial area. As her positive Oedipal strivings emerged in the transference, she related that the fragrance of roses evoked sexual feelings in her (cf., the analyst's name). Another male patient soaked himself just before each session with underarm deodorant, shaving lotion, hair tonic, and body powder. For this patient emanating odors (being smelled) was an expression of his passive sexual strivings for his father. After expressing his passive homosexual wishes toward the analyst or after speaking of his attempts at active heterosexual activity, experiences of smelling occurred within the treatment, signaling the onset of libidinal and ego regressions as a defense against castration anxiety.

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Article Citation

(1962). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961. Psychoanal. Q., 31:293

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