By Joy Schaverien

Desire and the feminine Therapist is among the first full-length explorations of erotic transference and countertransference from the viewpoint of the feminine therapist. specific cognizance is given to the feminine therapist/male customer courting and to the results of wish made seen in paintings items in analytical varieties of psychotherapy. Drawing on aesthetic and psychoanalytic idea, particularly Lacan and Jung, the booklet bargains an important new method of wish in remedy. Richly illustrated, with images in addition to scientific vignettes, this publication follows on from pleasure Schaverien's leading edge earlier paintings The Revealing Image. Written essentially for psychotherapists, paintings therapists and analysts, Desire and the feminine Therapist should be crucial interpreting for all therapists stricken by erotic transference and countertransference during medical perform and all whose consumers carry artwork works to treatment.

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Extra info for Desire and the Female Therapist: Engendered Gazes in Psychotherapy and Art Therapy

Sample text

He took a step back, but not because I pushed him physically, nor because I said anything; it was the quality of my gaze which caused him to draw back. The point is that intuitively I knew that this touch, this physical contact, was inappropriate. This was not a thought, it was a preconscious response. There was an intuitive understanding that to have engaged in sexual activity would not have satisfied the desire for either of us. Nor would it have furthered the therapeutic aim. Instead it would have destroyed the quality of the engagement.

I emphasise that this incident took place many years ago when I was inexperienced. Since then, and in common with other therapists, I have experienced many similarly intense erotic countertransferences in response to the transferences of male patients. As a woman of heterosexual orientation there has been a difference in the experience of erotic transference with men and with women. I have fantasised a physical relationship with female patients, too, but for me with women, the countertransference desire has, up to now, lacked the intensity which would tempt me to act out.

However, the therapeutic relationship is affected by reality as well as the client’s internal predispositions. Like the room in which therapy takes place, the gender of the therapist is part of the real relationship which is instantly identifiable. Inevitably, this produces an impression which, whether conscious or unconscious, will influence the transference. In certain cases gender is an important element for the patient from the start. Some patients consciously choose their therapist on the basis of gender, preferring to work with a woman or a man (Spector Person 1983, 16 Desire and the female therapist 1985; Williams 1993).

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