The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences

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9780881631470: The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences
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In this richly woven study of the manifestations, meanings, and therapeutic uses of preoedipal erotic experience, Harriet Kimble Wrye and Judith Welles examine the very primitive longings for the mother's sensually experienced body that emerge in analysis. Such longings, by which the infant "spills" into the mother's body and shares her sensual pleasure, optimally become the basis for mature genital sexuality. In The Narration of Desire, however, Wrye and Welles focus on patients for whom early mothering did not sustain the flowering and subsequent transformation of early erotic desire. Such patients remain under the sway of a primitive eroticism that is often sadistic and invariably perverse. Successful analytic work thus becomes a complicated, often exhausting undertaking. It requires accepting and containing the patient's primitive erotic needs; reconstructing the mother infant narratives that sustain these needs; and mobilizing the patient's own transformative desire to grow out of maternal eroticism to a freer, less encumbered adult love of self and others.
In illuminating the narrative process of analytic transformation Wrye and Welles concentrate on the emergence and resolution of maternal erotic transferences and countertransferences. The former represent the patient's intense longings for intimate physical contact with the analyst, often with a particular part of her body. Such transferences illuminate unconscious beliefs about the conditions for loving that these patients bring to treatment; as such, they frequently lead to a sense of deadlock and psychic paralysis for lengthy intervals of treatment. The complementary countertransferences signify the analyst's resistance to the patient's primitive erotic needs, which include the demand that the analyst be a sensually erotic maternal presence. And yet, Wrye and Welles argue, it is the acceptance and analytic working through of just such transferences and countertransferences that are transformative, pointing to new and liberating narratives of desire.
The Narration of Desire is more than a chronicle of successful analytic therapy with patients whose intensely physical transferences pose special treatment challenges. By retracing the often tangled clinical pathways that have taken them from the "primordial swamp" of inchoate bodily desire to clinically usable concepts, Wrye and Welles enlarge the very vocabulary of desire; further, their imagistically rich case studies illustrate the kinds of therapeutic storylines in which the new vocabulary is meaningfully employed. Thus, Wrye and Welles offer a new narration of desire not only for their patients but for psychoanalytic theory itself.

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Review:

"I believe that this work successfully addresses a very important issue in infant development, in psychoanalytic theory, and in clinical practice - the infant's sense of proper entitlement to an appropriate erotic launching of his or her career as a human being - and of its being candidly validated in the trial countersubjective response in that foremost of existential 'rewrites,' psychoanalysis itself."

- James S. Grotstein, M.D., American Journal of Psychotherapy

"With their candid and vividly detailed clinical accounts, Wrye and Welles illustrate how the coauthored story of transference/countertransference permit the rich history of a patient's love narrative to be retrieved and reviewed. The Narration of Desire is an intensely personal, highly instructive study of the erotic roots of conscious awareness."

- Owen Renik, M.D., San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute

“I believe Wrye and Welles have made a major contribution to the field.  They establish to an impressively detailed degree the necessity of attending to communications transmitted through bodily feelings and sensations, a topic only now fully coming into its own” 

- Ethel Person, M.D., JAPA

 

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780881632989: The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0881632988 ISBN 13:  9780881632989
Publisher: Routledge, 1998
Softcover

9781138150133: The Narration of Desire: Erotic Transferences and Countertransferences

Routledge, 2016
Hardcover

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