When Things Get Hot or Not: Countertransference to the Erotic in Couple Therapy
Clinicians experience a variety of feelings related to the erotic in couple therapy. When the range of erotic expression includes less traditional forms of sexuality, feelings can vary even more widely and might include discomfort, shame, curiosity, boredom, arousal, envy and revulsion. Some topics may feel too “hot” to handle or be so outside our ken that we lack rudimentary knowledge to guide us. At times, our own countertransference mirrors the reactions of one member of a couple, but not of the other.
This program will focus on a variety of “hot” topics, such as kink, BDSM, polyamory, and internet pornography use, with an emphasis on countertransference. At points, Dr. Iasenza will make use of case vignettes, prepared ahead of time by designated audience members. She will also show sexually explicit video material. Finally, she will discuss ways to transform complex feelings about the erotic to enhance the therapeutic process in working with couples.
Suzanne Iasenza, Ph.D. is on the faculties of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ICP) and the Adelphi University Derner Institute’s Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She also teaches in the workshop series at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is co-editor of the books Lesbians and Psychoanalysis: Revolutions in Theory and Practice (1995) and Lesbians, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis: The Second Wave (2004) and maintains a private practice in psychotherapy and sex therapy in New York City. Her most recent paper entitled: “What’s Queer About Sex: Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory and Practice” (2010) was published in the journal Family Process.