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 awareness is given to the feminine therapist/male buyer dating and to the consequences of wish made obvious in paintings gadgets in analytical kinds of psychotherapy. Drawing on aesthetic and psychoanalytic conception, particularly Lacan and Jung, the publication bargains an important new method of wish in remedy. Richly illustrated, with photographs in addition to medical vignettes, this publication follows on from pleasure Schaverien's leading edge prior paintings The Revealing Image. Written essentially for psychotherapists, artwork therapists and analysts, Desire and the feminine Therapist could be crucial studying for all therapists tormented by erotic transference and countertransference during medical perform and all whose consumers deliver artwork works to treatment.

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Even though there was no evident sexual arousal there was certainly an awareness of its potential. The power play could be understood in sexual terms and the point is that this was not primarily a mother-child interaction. If Mr A had stayed in therapy for longer, it is likely that this would have modified over time and the motherchild dynamic may have come to the surface and so have needed interpretation. However, my point here is that there are times when interpretation of adult feelings in infantile terms is a defence for the female therapist against consciousness of sexual arousal.

Jung’s major work on the transference is The Psychology of the Transference (Jung 1946, CW 16). In it he wrote about the desires experienced in the transference and countertransference and linked this ‘unconscious mix’ to the alchemical process. In both these situations two people open themselves to a process by which both are transformed. Jung further develops this through the researches of Layard (quoted in Jung 1946, CW 16) into ‘kinship libido’. Here, incest is prevented through a complicated system of physical boundaries and the cross-cousin marriage.

The appeal of the male patient may be his vulnerability and his sensitivity as well as his sexuality. We female therapists need to admit our own desire before we can analyse the desire of our male patients and we can only do so if we are not ashamed to admit all aspects of the countertransference. Sexual wishes of female therapists and their male patients need to be recognised as multi-layered and not assumed to be based solely in infantile sectors of the unconscious (see Samuels 1995). Many of these issues are illustrated by a recently published book which documents the alleged sexual exploitation of a male patient by a female psychiatrist/psychoanalyst in the USA (McNamara 1994).

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