THE PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC ENCOUNTER: SEXUAL ACTING OUT AS THE FOCUS OF INTERVENTION

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Abstract

Clinical observation indicates that sexual acting out takes place during periods in which the integrity of the self is threatened by some disappointment, some frustration, or what is perceived as an unavoidable but unfair demand. Rather than confront the problem within the object relationship, the conflict is acted out. The sexual encounter reduces anxiety and facilitates the containment of depressive and aggressive feelings. Self-integration is attempted even at the risk of losing something, be it a wife, a husband, a girlfriend or the presidency. At the time it seems the only possible way to cope with painful or threatening stimuli.

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