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Saturday, October 13th 2018

Psychotherapy and Boundary Violations (OPA Psychotherapy Section's 2018 Fall Conference)

Andrea Celenza
presented by OPA Psychotherapy Section

The Faculty Club, University of Toronto, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C7

Psychotherapy and Boundary Violations

Learning objectives

1. This course will provide participants with the ability to identify misunderstandings about the problem of sexual boundary violations.
2. Participants will be able to describe the most typical transference/countertransference scenario where sexual boundary violations occur.
3. To explore the ways in which the analyst’s countertransference can foster or inhibit the emergence of the full intensity of erotic transferences at different phases of the treatment.

The program would be in two parts: The morning program includes a powerpoint presentation on Sexual Boundary Violations: How Do They Happen? The afternoon would focus on a detailed presentation of a case, where an erotic transference challenged the therapist and through the use of her countertransference, she was able to navigate the treacherous journey without violating boundaries. The title of the afternoon program would be: Erotic Transferences: What Countertransferences Can Illuminate.

Sexual Boundary Violations: How Do They Happen?

There is widespread concern about the problem of sexual boundary violations in professional relationships. This is especially true for the analyst-patient relationship. Among mental health professionals, sexual boundary violations are recognized as unethical due to the power imbalance inherent in the structure of the therapist-patient dyad. In the analytic context, the relationship is structured by the asymmetric distribution of attention wherein the psychoanalyst learns a great deal about the patient while the reverse is not true. This type of relationship encourages transference-based illusions derived from early childhood rendering the patient particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

This program will include a review of the prevalence, types of transgressors, precursors in transgressors, traumatic sequellae for the victims, and recommendations for prevention. Eight precursors to sexual boundary violations have been identified. Many of these precursors refer to unresolved narcissistic pathology in the professional. Most of these character issues bear on the analyst’s temptation to exploit the power imbalance inherent in the asymmetric structure of the professional relationship. Other precursors refer to situational and life stressors of the analyst that commonly occur in these cases. Also included are common early childhood factors that have been identified in such cases. All of these precursors will be highlighted in order that the analyst may be aware of the vulnerabilities and potential blind spots to consider throughout his/her professional life.

Erotic Transferences: What Countertransferences Can Illuminate

Some form of erotic transference frequently arises in the course of analytic therapy, yet clinicians feel unprepared to cope with the level of desire and erotic material likely to emerge. This program discusses erotic transferences in all of their manifestations through clinical illustrations. The varieties and meanings of the analyst’s countertransference will also be presented as a major source of co-construction in the emergence of unconscious factors that help elucidate the nature of transferences. A challenging case will be used to illustrate these clinical manifestations.

How to Register:

You can either conveniently register online using your credit card, or you can register by mail/fax and pay by cheque. To do so, simply download our printable registration form , and mail or fax it to the address indicated on the from.

About the Presenter:

Andrea Celenza, Ph.D. is Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. Co-Director (with Martha Stark, MD) of a blended, online program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy sponsored by William James College. As part of this program, she offers an on-line course, What, Where is Psychoanalysis? Classic Concepts, New Meanings, tracing a trajectory of psychoanalytic theorizing from the intrapsychic to the intersubjective. Dr. Celenza is the recipient of several awards and has authored two books. Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory and Academic Contexts, was published by Jason Aronson in 2007. Her new book, Erotic Revelations: Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios is published by Routledge. She is in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts.


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