1st Edition

Working with Sexual Attraction in Psychotherapy Practice and Supervision A Humanistic-Relational Approach

Edited By Biljana Rijn, Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood Copyright 2021
    238 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Working with Sexual Attraction in Psychotherapy Practice and Supervision addresses some of the challenges associated with sexual attraction in psychotherapy practice and supervision, as well as within services, and helps therapists, supervisors, and managers to navigate them with openness and self-reflection.

    The book focuses on practical and applied issues, using a relational humanistic-integrative theoretical approach as a backdrop for understanding. Split into three parts, it deals with issues related to clinical practice, supervision and ethical issues. Chapters support in-depth exploration in all three arenas of practice and are completed by editors providing a reflective summary.

    Enriched with case examples and research written by senior relational practitioners, the book will be beneficial to therapists, supervisors, and service managers in the field of psychotherapy.

    Part 1. Clinical Practice: Sexual attraction in the therapy room; 1.1 Let’s talk about sex: Female therapists’ experiences of working with male clients who are sexually attracted to them; 1.2Mapping the ‘Erotic’ in the therapeutic relationship; 1.3 The Meaning of the Asking; 1.4 Gender Identity & Sexual attraction in the therapeutic encounter. A Transgender perspective; 1.5 Editor’s summary and reflection of the themes related to practice issues; Part 2. Sexual attraction and Sexual Identity in Supervision; 2.1 The Supervisory Dimension; 2.2 The Comfort and disturbance of Forbidden Conversations: Sexuality and Erotic Forces in Relational Psychotherapy Supervision; 2.3. Sexual Orientation in the supervisory relationship: Exploring Fears and Fantasies when different sexual orientations are present in the client/therapist and/or supervisory dyad; 2.4. Editor’s Summary and reflection on sexual attraction and orientation in supervision; Part 3. Ethics: Preventing and dealing with transgressions; 3.1. Sexual Transgressions and Transgressing Gender and Sexuality; 3.2. Firefighting. Managing sexual ruptures and transgressions within counselling and psychotherapy services; 3.3. An ethical container for erotic confusion; 3.4. Editor’s Summary and reflection on ethical practice and prevention of transgressions


    Biljana van Rijn is a psychotherapist, supervisor, and an author. She works at Metanoia Institute in London, where she heads a Faculty for Research Strategy and Innovation, and teaches. She also practices as a Transactional Analysis Psychotherapist and Supervisor, and a Counselling Psychologist. Biljana has established a long-standing research clinic at Metanoia Institute with an emphasis on routine outcomes evaluation of humanistic and integrative psychotherapies.

    Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood is a Chartered Psychologist and an Integrative Psychotherapist, working in a variety of self-employed roles: as a therapist in private practice, as a visiting lecturer, and as an organisational consultant and coach. She has a particular interest in understanding and working with gender dynamics at work, which instigated her doctoral research and inspired this book.

    ‘If ever there was a text to help us navigate the treacherous waters of sexual and erotic material within therapeutic and supervisory relationships, this is it! With scholarship, clinical wisdom and not a little courage, Van Rijn and Lukac-Greenwood have brought together a collection of new essays that offer invaluable insights into the complexities of acknowledging and working with issues of sexual attraction in therapy and clinical supervision. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical ideas as well as some fascinating clinical material, they and their contributors encourage psychotherapists and other psychological practitioners to reflect openly and deeply on their practice and to engage more fully with the personal, ethical and relational issues that emerge from working with sexuality in the consulting room. 

    This is a brave, timely and thought-provoking book: I will certainly be recommending it to all my colleagues and trainees.’ 

    Rosemary Rizq, PhD, Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, University of Roehampton.

    ‘Kudos to Jasenka Lukac-Greenwood and Biljana van Rijn for this remarkable collection of essays taking up the complex and compelling challenges of working with the vital and disturbing forces of eros and sexuality as they come alive within the therapeutic process. Writing within the humanistic/relational traditions, each author, while speaking in a personal voice, addresses questions of far-reaching theoretical and clinical concerns. This book is quite unique in speaking to the emergence of sexual dynamics within supervisory relationships as well as the therapeutic. This is a book that will bear multiple readings and will be an invaluable resource to practitioners, supervisors, educators and trainers.’

    William F. Cornell, Independent Psychotherapist and Consultant, Pittsburgh, PA. Author and Editor of Routledge series, "Innovations in Transactional Analysis"

    ‘This is an impressive book about sexual dynamics in the therapeutic encounter. It is multi-layered and rich -with a welcomed relational humanistic-integrative framework on personal as well as socio-cultural constructs about self and sexuality. It is a must-have for all therapists, I can’t recommend it enough!’

    Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson, Senior Fellow (SFHEA), Director of Studies (Management) MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapy 

    Metanoia Institute

    ‘Addressing what, for many, is a complex and frightening area to understand and work with, this book offers a frank, thought-provoking, and encouraging approach to many of the concerns that therapists struggle with when it comes to working with sexual attraction in the therapy room. 

    A welcome addition to the library of students and experienced therapists alike, the reader will find a host of stimulating and well-argued papers. Each of which gives voice to how within a relational humanistic-integrative perspective, the emergence and development of sexual dynamics in the therapeutic encounters can be thought about, engaged with, and drawn upon for maximum therapeutic benefit.’

    Heather Fowlie

    Faculty Head - Psychotherapy and Counselling

    Metanoia Institute