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Minonne, G. (2020). Commentary on Saketopoulou. Psychoanal. Inq., 40(8):678-679.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(8):678-679

Commentary on Saketopoulou

Giovanni Minonne, Ph.D.

Avgi Saketopoulou offers a new perspective on how to understand and prevent sexual boundary violations in psychoanalytic treatments. The core idea expressed in her article is that the intimacy of the analytic situation awakens the infantile erotic sexuality of the patient and of the analyst in ways that at times are very difficult to control and can lead to sexual boundary violation.

The author writes that the traditional view of the analyst’s erotic countertransference as a romantic desire for the patient (Harold Searles, 1959) is inadequate and misleading. She looks to Jean Laplanche’s account of the tremendous erotic and demonic forces of the “infantile sexual” to characterize the intensity and the destructiveness of the erotic desires that the regressive pull of the analytic situation can awaken in the analyst.

Saketopoulou believes that no analyst – no matter how well analyzed and strong in ego capacity and moral standing – is immune to the reactivation of the intense infantile erotic feelings that can lead to boundary violation. She also believes that the awakening in the analytic situation of the enigmatic erotic overstimulation of the infantile sexual is too primitive, powerful, and destructive to be contained by the analyst alone. The infantile sexual is also too powerful to be contained within the boundaries of a dyadic, supervisory, or therapeutic relationship.

She believes that it is vital to have the emotional support and the strong holding of the entire analytic community.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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