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Cooper, S.H. (2003). You Say Oedipal, I Say Postoedipal: A Consideration of Desire and Hostility in the Analytic Relationship. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(1):41-63.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(1):41-63

You Say Oedipal, I Say Postoedipal: A Consideration of Desire and Hostility in the Analytic Relationship

Steven H. Cooper, Ph.D.

Using a case example, the author explores the complex and shifting boundary between aspects of oedipal regression and postoedipal phenomena. Particularly, during termination phases, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish among the hostility, frustration, and anger related to oedipal longings and scorn that is connected to realistic appraisals of the limits of erotic longings in the analytic situation. Scorn sometimes involves a kind of righteous indignation that results from the patient's awareness that analytic immersion in erotic longings toward unavailable others has aspects of erotic masochism. To some extent, the analytic situation itself contains aspects of erotic masochism that are important to try to reorganize during ending phases of analysis. The author argues that distinctions between oedipal and postoedipal are ever-shifting and difficult to make because the Oedipus complex is a lifelong process that is never resolved. Instead, we are always seeking new adaptations and new ways to organize our relationships against the background of a fluid boundary between oedipal and postoedipal phenomena.

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