The issue of same-gender sexual identity has challenged our understanding of psychological development and psychological intervention throughout the century just past and continues to provoke discussion in the century upon us. Over the past three decades, psychoanalysis advanced toward a contemporary perspective, which holds that the dynamics of sexual orientation must be an important element of the psychoanalytic process, but must be approached without prejudice regarding the outcome of analytic exploration of wish and desire. Taken together, the essays in Rethinking Psychoanalysis and the Homosexualities, a thematic volume of The Annual of Psychoanalysis, provide a developmentally grounded and clinically consequential enlargement of this basic premise. The result is a timely overview of contemporary approaches to the study of sexual orientation within psychoanalysis that highlights issues salient to clinical work with lesbian and gay patients.
The section on "The Meaning of Sexualization in Clinical Psychoanalysis" demonstrates the importance of psychoanalytic study of same-gender desire and sexual orientation for analyst and analysand alike. Philips considers the analyst's own sexual identity as a factor shaping the analysand's experience of sexuality, whereas Shelby, Lynch, Roughton, and Young-Bruehl, from their various perspectives, address the problem of stigma and prejudice as they distort same-gender desire and same-gender sexual identity. Two concluding sections of the book explore the implications of a clinical psychoanalytic perspective for the study of gay and lesbian lives. Timely and essential reading for all mental health professionals, Rethinking Psychoanalysis and the Homosexualities underscores the profound distance traversed by psychoanalysis in arriving at its contemporary understandings of gender, sexual identity, and sexual desire.
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"The collection of conceptually diverse and politically progressive essays gathered together in Rethinking Psychoanalysis and the Homosexualities marks an important moment in psychoanalytic history. We can finally sense within our professional boundaries an intensifying interdiction against both formal and casual expressions of homophobia.... Employing a predominantly clinical focus, this volume exposes many of the deforming influences of homophobia on our clinical, theoretical, and institutional structures, and therefore on our capacities to 'think' clearly about homosexualities."
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