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Saketopoulou, A. (2020). The Infantile Erotic Countertransference: The Analyst’s Infantile Sexual, Ethics, and the Role of the Psychoanalytic Collective. Psychoanal. Inq., 40(8):659-677.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(8):659-677

The Infantile Erotic Countertransference: The Analyst’s Infantile Sexual, Ethics, and the Role of the Psychoanalytic Collective

Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.

Psychoanalytic clinicians are aware that the therapeutic setting, in its seductive draws and regressive pulls, can awaken the patient’s infantile sexuality. It has been harder, though, to recognize that it also kindles the analyst’s. This erasure is partly due to North American analysts’ privileging of object relational approaches to sexuality, and the neglect of sexuality’s driven, embodied dimensions (Green). Relying on Laplanche and others drawing on French metapsychology (Stein), I propose that some erotic countertransferences are fueled by these forces. These present with unusual phenomenological intensity and they are neither rare nor problematic. When unaddressed, however, they can disrupt a treatment or even culminate to sexual transgressions. I explore our resistances to acknowledging such countertransferences, which includes positing them as more manageable and less disorganizing than they, in fact, may be. Laplanche’s work on the sexual, by which he refers to the demonic aspects of infantile sexuality, and relational theory (Dimen, Goldner) helps deepen our thinking on this topic. I close by suggesting that the dyadic space of supervision and/or personal analysis may be insufficient to reign in the plenitudes of such erotic responses, and make an argument for their management being a matter not only of the individual analyst, but also a problem of the group (Dimen).

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