1st Edition

Braving the Erotic Field in the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Edited By Mary Brady Copyright 2022
    258 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Braving the Erotic Field in the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Adolescents and Children is a groundbreaking collection of chapters by an international group of analytic authors. The book addresses the general lack of psychoanalytic writing on working with erotic feelings in the consulting room when treating children and adolescents. This lack is doubly odd given Freud’s emphasis on childhood sexuality as well as the intensities of the adolescent body/mind.

    This book takes the view that the subtle interchange of feelings, dreams, narratives and images that arise when erotic feelings are in the fore is better conceptualized as an erotic field, than with the binary of transference/countertransference. In contemporary psychoanalysis the idea that transference love offers the possibility of knowing the other in the deepest possible way is supplanting an attitude of suspicion. Clinical work with small children to late adolescents will be offered, including gay and gender-fluid adolescents.

    This book makes a decisive contribution to assist clinicians to brave the erotic field with children and adolescents.

    1. Types of sexual transference and countertransference in psychotherapeutic work with children and adolescents

    2. Braving the erotic field in the treatment of adolescents


    3. Traversing challenging terrain: Discussion of Mary Brady’s "Braving the Erotic Field"


    4. On the new semantics of transference love


    5. Child, parents and psychoanalyst: Binocular vision in the erotic field


    6. Elsa’s sexual fantasies in a narcissistic and erotic transference


    7. The tears of a clown: Dreaming the erotic in the service of integration


    8. A boy’s terror and fascination with the male body


    9. The play of eros: The story of an adolescent boy, his body and his analyst’s body


    10. Too close for comfort: The challenges of engaging with sexuality in work with adolescents


    11. Erotic, eroticized and perverse transference in child analysis


    12. A special boy: Melancholic terrors of awakening the erotic man


    13. ‘Sleeping Beauties’: Avoidance of the erotic in adolescence


    Dr. Mary T. Brady, is an adult and child psychoanalyst in private practice in San Francisco. She is on the Faculty of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. Her books, Analytic Engagements with Adolescents: Sex, Gender and Subversion and The Body in Adolescence: Psychic Isolation and Physical Symptoms were published by Routledge in 2018 and 2016, respectively.

    "This new book from Mary Brady is unique in that it addresses a subject on which psychoanalytic publications are scarce. The reader will find thirteen chapters written by very distinguished analysts practicing in different parts of the world who bring their clinical experience together with some theoretical proposals.

    For the title of this book, Mary Brady skillfully put together key psychoanalytic clinical concepts like "erotic transference and counter-transference" and the field theory coined by Madeleine and Willy Baranger in 1961-62.

    Today, it is even more evident that the analytical situation now hinges on two centers: the patient and the analyst. The latter is not considered now the privileged observer. From this perspective, an analytic process in conceived as a total situation in which the focus is the transference-countertransference relationship.

    I would like to suggest another factor: both patient and analyst live in a given culture. This is particularly striking in the treatment of children and adolescents, who are the ones most impacted by changes in society and culture. Nowadays we are contemporaries of a series of transformations in subjectivity.

    This book is a must for child and adolescent analysts as it sheds light on the changes in sexuality that happened after psychoanalysis was born during the Modern Era, and the importance of being aware of the erotic feelings that arise during work with young patients. But I think that therapists treating patients of any age will benefit from this immersion in the clinic of eroticism in the analytical session."

    Virginia Ungar, M.D., International Psychoanalytic Association President


    "As if eroticism wasn’t already elusive, child and adolescent work presents thornier problems still, so erotics in this clinical arena have been particularly absent, indeed taboo. Not so in this volume. Here is a collection of scholarly, intuitive, passionate and playful, chapters reflecting a brave and daring foray into the erotic field of child and adolescent analysis. Constituted in a suspended real, play therapy (child, adolescent and adult) elevates persons to characters dramatizing this hidden, passionate world. A co-created theatre, this is the real real; with courage and deft awareness, these papers show how play depicts it and what to say and do. 

    Read this book, learn from the best among us and find the child analyst within you." 

    Andrea Celenza, Ph.D., Author of: Transference, Love, Being: Essential Essays from the Field (forthcoming from Routledge) 

    "The essays chosen by Dr. Brady compel us to explore the ways in which we can keep alive the erotic encounter with our analysands. The essays utilize theory to be present in the encounter rather than to keep our distance. Given the often deep uncertainty we have about our own capacities to encounter eros in our relationships, the book is a powerful help in demonstrating how, from various theoretical positions, it is possible to explore our own awakened erotic countertransference in service of its awakening in the life of our analysands. This is a book to be read and thought about multiple times."

    Ray Poggi, M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California