Off the couch, into the toilet: Exploring the psychic uses of the analyst's toilet

Lemma, Alessandra (2014) Off the couch, into the toilet: Exploring the psychic uses of the analyst's toilet. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62 (1). pp. 35-56. ISSN 0003-0651 (print); 1941-2460 (online)

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The analyst’s consulting room toilet lends itself to myriad uses in the context of the analytic relationship. It is a place where “dirty” secrets may be excitedly deposited and where perverse fantasies can be fueled and acted out, as illustrated in the analysis of Mr. D. This perverse use of the analyst’s toilet is contrasted with the case of Ms. C., whose anxieties about the destructiveness of her aggression led initially to a phobic avoidance of the toilet and then evolved toward its use as a container for parts of herself she felt were bad and unacceptable, thereby protecting the relationship with the analyst, who could not yet be trusted to receive and survive her projections. In these cases the toilet becomes quite concretely the location of the “toilet-breast” (Meltzer 1967), a means of preserving a more idealized relationship with the analyst.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aggression, Defense, Perversion, Perverse Transference, Analytic Setting, Phobia
Subjects: Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Patient/Therapist Interaction
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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