Creativity and the Erotic Dimensions of the Analytic Field: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Creativity and the Erotic Dimensions of the Analytic Field

1st Edition

By Dianne Elise


318 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138625426
pub: 2019-06-21
SAVE ~$7.99
Hardback: 9781138625419
pub: 2019-06-18
SAVE ~$28.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429459900
pub: 2019-06-11
from $19.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Creativity and the Erotic Dimensions of the Analytic Field centers on the mutually reinforcing relationship between erotic and creative energies. Erotic embodiment is given context within a contemporary model of clinical process based in analytic field theory and highlighting Winnicott. Dianne Elise uses clinical material to bring theory alive, giving clinicians an explicit picture of how they might utilize the ideas presented.

In a fascinating return to Freud’s emphasis on libido and Eros, a creative mind is seen as located within a libidinal connection to the erotic body. The erotic is underscored as an important ingredient of the clinical situation—a lively spontaneity that partakes of the analyst’s as well as the patient’s creative self, vitalizing the field of clinical engagement. A full formulation of the analytic field must include awareness of the centrality of the erotic in the maternal matrix, in ongoing development, and in the clinical setting. The erotic-aesthetic dimension of the mind potentiates the creative interplay of the analytic process.

Written in an engaging and accessible style, this original contribution makes complex theory available to psychoanalytic clinicians at all levels, and to a wide range of readers, while offering sophisticated theoretical and clinical innovations. Elise addresses the need to engage multiple aspects of erotic life while maintaining a reliable professional boundary.


"Dianne Elise, in this beautifully written book, enriches the psychoanalytic concept of the erotic in a way that I believe constitutes a major contribution to psychoanalytic theory and practice. She develops the idea that maternal eroticism is an essential component of the life of the mother and infant, and similarly, the analyst’s eroticism is an essential component of the life of the analytic field. In the absence of eroticism, the mother-infant bond and the analyst-patient relationship are flat and lifeless; creativity is stifled or killed. The ideas Elise introduces are now requisite for anyone engaged in the life-long project of learning to become a psychotherapist."-Thomas Ogden, author of Reclaiming Unlived Life and Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works

"Dianne Elise notices that analytic theory has portrayed a disembodied engagement of minds--Freud's `victory of intellectuality over sensuality,’ paternity over maternity. A generative analytic field, she claims, must include body and analytic eroticism, especially, fantasy transformations of a maternal Eros--the mother's bodily sensuality, for women, a mother-daughter erotic--experienced from infancy. Elise shares palpably alive descriptions of the analytic field she and her patients create, a consulting room where both experience and confront Eros in fantasies, bodily imagery, dreams and verbal exchanges. Readers will gain a transformed sense of the analytic field."-Nancy J. Chodorow, author of The Reproduction of Mothering and Individualizing Gender and Sexuality

"Dianne Elise’s book is a rewarding and fascinating read. Not only does the author deal with one of the most intriguing and conflicted psychoanalytic issues-- Eros and libidinal life --she inserts it within the frame of the analytic field, itself a challenging theoretical perspective and new paradigm in psychoanalysis. This conjunction gives Elise the opportunity to develop a discourse that is both original and respectful of our classical tradition while giving back center stage to the somewhat neglected topic of sexuality as an enlivening factor in analysis. Her style of writing shows abundantly this same quality of being vital and ‘real’. This book is a great achievement."-Giuseppe Civitarese, author of Sublime Subjects: Aesthetic Conflict and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Erotic Vitality in Analytic Process 1 Moving from within the Maternal: The Choreography of Analytic Eroticism 2 Desire and Disruption in the Analytic Relationship 3 Blocked Creativity and Inhibited Erotic Transference Part II: Potential Space and Orientations of the Erotic 4 Psychic Bisexuality and Creativity: Gender Repertoires 5 Male Fears of Psychic Penetration 6 Reclaiming Lost Loves: Transcending Unrequited Desires Part III: Women and Desire: Erotic Dysphorias 7 Sex and Shame: The Inhibition of Female Desires 8 Erasure of the Female Erotic 9 Failure to Thrive: Masochistic Submission in Women Part IV – Erotic Betrayal and Poisoned Desires 10 Infidelity and the Betrayal of Truth 11Betrayal and the Loss of Goodness in the Analytic Relationship 12 Narcissistic Seductions and the Collapse of the Creative

About the Author

Dianne Elise is a Personal and Supervising Analyst of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, USA. Nationally recognized for her innovative contributions to the psychoanalytic literature on gender and sexuality, she has consistently challenged conventional accounts of development.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health