What does it mean to be member of a gay/lesbian couple or family? The contributors to Uncoupling Convention: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Same-Sex Couples and Families address this question by drawing on two cultural movements of the twentieth century: psychoanalysis and the gay/lesbian civil rights movement. Taken together, these traditions provide a framework for understanding, and providing psychotherapeutic assistance to, gay and lesbian patients who present with troubled relationships.
The contributors to this volume espouse a clinical focus that supplants the heterosexual perspectives of traditional psychoanalysis with new narratives about family life. Drawing on cultural, feminist, gay/lesbian, and queer studies, they illustrate how concepts of gender and sexuality are routinely informed by unproven heterosexist assumptions - both conscious and unconscious.
By examining the changing developmental needs and family dynamics of gay and lesbian families, the contributors broaden our very understanding of what a family is. They illustrate how contrasting cultural constructions of homosexuality and family life play out in same-sex couples. They delineate the multiple realities of gender subjectivity, both in children and in their gay parents. They ponder how technology is shaping reproductive experiences, as lesbians become part of the biomedical system. And they explore recurrent themes of feeling different and ashamed, including the shameful secrecy surrounding same-sex couples' financial matters. In uncoupling conventions, the contributors are effectively coupling post-Freudian psychoanalysis with the insights of queer theory and the critical edge of contemporary cultural studies. The result is a framework for addressing the relational and family-related challenges of gay and lesbian patients that ranges far beyond traditional approaches and will benefit analytic, couples, and family therapists alike.
Table of Contents
Introduction-Ann D'Ercole and Jack Drescher
1. Ozzie and Harriet Are Dead: New Family Narratives in a Postmodern World -
2. Gender "Indifference": Gender Development in Lesbian-Parented Families -Melanie Suchet
3. Couples, Imagined - P. Cheuvront
4. The Interplay of Difference and Shame: A Lesbian Couple in Treatment -
5. Is This Normal? Uncovering the Role of Homophobia in the Treatment of a Lesbian Couple - Judy Levitz
6. Teasing Apart Gender, Object Choice, and Motherhood in Lesbian Relationships - Deborah Glazer
7. The Lesbian "Great American Sperm Hunt": A Sociological Analysis of Selecting Donors and Constructing Relatedness - Laura Mamo
8. Passion, Play, and Erotic Potential Space in Lesbian Relationships -
9. One Plus One Equals One: Financial Madness in Same-Sex Relationships -
Barbra Zuck Locker
“In this paradigm-shifting volume, D’Ercole and Drescher lift same-sex couples and families out of the margins and into the center of discourse about intimacy and domesticity. All of us who want to make commitments, raise children, love passionately, and be socially respected for those intentions will find practical wisdom and scholarly erudition in these pages.”
- Virginia Goldner, Ph.D., Founding Editor, Studies in Gender and Sexuality
“Only recently has psychoanalysis been forced to come to terms with its century-long history of pathologizing and mistreating gays and lesbians. What a marvel it is to have reached a new disciplinary milestone with the publication of Uncoupling Convention. In this significant collection, D'Ercole and Drescher assemble clinicians who share an affirmative psychoanalytic sensibility to dynamic work with gay and lesbian individuals and with same-sex couples and families. These essays are fresh, challenging, and provocative; they embody a new psychoanalytic discourse sensitive to the multiply varied configurations and practical social contexts of the postmodern family.”
- Lewis Aron, Ph.D., Director, NYU PostDoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis