Losing the internal Oedipal mother and loss of sexual desire

Hertzmann, Leezah (2018) Losing the internal Oedipal mother and loss of sexual desire. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 34 (1). pp. 25-45. ISSN Print ISSN: 0265-9883 Online ISSN: 1752-0118

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This paper aims to examine how it might be possible to use psychoanalytic concepts to explore a deeper understanding of the difficulties with conscious and unconscious same gender sexual desires in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The author explores how the loss of the unconscious oedipal mother can be manifested as a loss of sexual desire in a couple's relationship. The author suggests that the move from what is referred to as the longed-for state of being in perfect harmony, to a more realistic state of imperfect harmony can bring about the recovery of an unconscious belief that one can possess the oedipal mother. The move from this fantasy state of merger to a more reality-based relationship can induce feelings of abandonment and loss, particularly of sexual desire. The implications of this for the transference and countertransference, and the conscious and unconscious nature of erotic desires within the therapeutic relationship are considered. The importance of aspects of technique and the need for non-pathologizing use of concepts to help clinicians more fully explore formulations and therapeutic interventions are examined. While this paper focuses on lesbian relationships, the relevance of the ideas presented here for other gender pairings is explored.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Also available in: Hertzmann, Leezah and Newbigin, Juliet (2019) Sexuality and gender now: Moving beyond heteronormativity. Tavistock Clinic Series. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 81-103
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Sex Psychology > Sex Behaviour
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1716

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