Lesbian and gay couple relationships: When internalized homophobia gets in the way of couple creativity

Hertzmann, Leezah (2011) Lesbian and gay couple relationships: When internalized homophobia gets in the way of couple creativity. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 25 (4). pp. 346-360. ISSN 0266-8734

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Many lesbian and gay couples remain cautious in seeking psychoanalytic treatment for their relationship difficulties. The use of psychoanalytic theories, particularly the application of the Oedipus complex to explore homosexuality has been experienced by many as especially damaging. It is regrettable that psychoanalytic theory has too often been used in a restrictive and deterministic way to pathologize sexual orientation. Yet, the concept of the Oedipus complex has also been immensely fruitful for psychoanalysis and remains one of its central tenets. In this paper I use the concept of the Creative Couple, an idea which has evolved from the Oedipus complex, to underpin my thinking in an exploration of some of the issues with which I have observed lesbian and gay couples struggle. One such issue is that of Internalized Homophobia. Using case examples I consider the damage this can cause to lesbian and gay couples, including the sense of paralysis that can pervade both the couple's relationship and the therapy. I reflect on the challenges that internalized homophobia can present for the therapist when manifested in the transference and countertransference, and the need to be aware of the hidden, pernicious ways in which it can interfere with a couple's creativity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Available online: 29 Nov 2011. Also available as a book chapter in 'More about couples on the couch: Approaching psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy from an expanded perspective' edited by Shelley Nathans, Routledge, 2023.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Couple Superego, Unconscious Beliefs, Oedipus Complex
Subjects: Couple & Family Therapies > Couple/Marital Therapy
Sex Psychology > Lesbianism
Sex Psychology > Homosexuality
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/562

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