Eros and Abstinence in Psychotherapy

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Abstract

In this article, the author elucidates the relationship between the psychotherapist's abstinence and the emergence of desire and erotic experience in the patient. Beginning with a brief account of the abrupt ending of a daseinsanalytic therapy, a therapy to which he again returns at the end of the article, the author examines the historical devlopment of the relationship between Eros and abstinence, first through an extensive review of the writings of Sigmund Freud and then through a review of various earlier and later views of this issue as psychoanalysis continued to develop. This review includes, in particular, some of the daseinsanalytic perspectives of Medard Boss. Following this historical analysis, the author then takes up a hermeneutic analysis of eros and abstinence, beginning with some reflections on the psychoanalytic phenomena of transference and countertransference and going on to an elucidation of eros and abstinence in relation to both ontical and ontological dimensions. The author concludes by returning to the clinical case with which he began, though with the perspective of his preceding analysis.

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