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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

The Infantile Erotic Countertransference and the Work of Renunciation

Sponsored by the Patient and Colleague Assistance Committee

Avgi Saketopoulou, Psy.D.
New York City

Saturday, January 20, 2018
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
*2 CME AND CE Credit Hours

Farmington Hills

About the Patient and Colleague Assistance Committee [PACA]:
PACA is a joint committee of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute and the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society. It was created to assist patients and colleagues when concerns have been raised about colleagues. Each member of the committee is available for consultation regarding concerns about any member of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute or Michigan Psychoanalytic Society.

About the Presenter:
Dr. Saketopoulou is a psychoanalyst on the faculties of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute, and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. She is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality. She has received numerous prizes for her extensive writing on gender and sexuality: The Annual Essay Prize of JAPA, the Symonds Essay Prize from Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and the Ruth Stein Prize of the NYU Postdoctoral Program.

Practice Gap/Need and Course Description:
It is a highly problematic but known fact that every psychoanalytic institute has had instances of analysts who have sexually transgressed against patients. Sexual boundary violations are an unremitting problem: they injure our patients and traumatize our analytic communities, draping many of us in shame, silence and fear. This paper joins the significant scholarship in this area to propose that we do not, as a field, pay enough attention to the force and intensity with which erotic countertransferences can seize the analyst; neither do we consider the infantile sexual roots of these clinical phenomena which are endemic to our clinical work and extraordinarily helpful when well analyzed. This makes open conversations about erotic feelings extraordinarily difficult and it is that which may open the door to sexual violations. This paper explores some of the obstacles in having these critical conversations and offers concrete suggestions as to how analytic communities can help create space for them.

After attending this presentation, participants will be able to:

1. Discuss how the patient's and the analyst's infantile sexuality contribute to the infantile erotic countertransference.

2. Explain why these countertransferences are hard to admit to ourselves and even harder to discuss with trusted professional colleagues.

3. Discuss the role of the psychoanalytic community as a collective in helping hold the difficulties inherent in managing such countertransferences.