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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Erotic Feelings Toward the Therapist: A Relational Perspective

By Jenny H. Lotterman
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 70, Issue 2, pages 135–146, February 2014


This article focuses on the relational treatment of a male patient presenting with sexual and erotic feelings toward the therapist. The use of relational psychotherapy allowed us to collaborate in viewing our therapeutic relationship as a microcosm of other relationships throughout the patient's life. In this way, the patient came to understand his fears of being close to women, his discomfort with his sexuality, and how these feelings impacted his ongoing romantic and sexual experiences. Use of the therapist's reactions to the patient, including conscious and unconscious feelings and behaviors, aided in the conceptualization of this case. Working under a relational model was especially helpful when ruptures occurred, allowing the patient and therapist to address these moments and move toward repair. The patient was successful in making use of his sexual feelings to understand his feelings and behaviors across contexts.

The entire article is here.

Editor's Note: Psychologists do not talk enough about erotic transference and countertransference in psychotherapy.  These emotions happen more frequently than psychologists are willing to admit.