This important new book by Alessandra Lemma provides a succinct overview of psychoanalytic understandings, approaches, and controversies around transgender identifications.
Illustrated with case vignettes, Lemma provides an up-to-date synthesis of current research and a critical overview of psychoanalytic approaches to transgender identities, distilling some of the contemporary controversies about how to approach the topic in the consulting room. Lemma also outlines a psychoanalytically informed ethical framework to support clinicians working with individuals who request medical transitioning and distils the ethical challenges faced by clinicians in light of the current emphasis on gender affirmative care.
Part of the Routledge Introductions to Contemporary Psychoanalysis series, this book is of great importance for psychoanalysts in practice, academics and all those with an interest in transgender identities and mental health.
'The clinical and ethical reflections contained in this book, the outcome of over ten years of clinical work with transgender individuals, invite us to think about the body and its unconscious identifications. One of Alessandra Lemma’s fundamental premises is that the understanding of the internal world of transgender individuals casts light on the subjective experience of embodiment. Psychoanalysis, in the words of Winnicott, does not "…take for granted the lodgment of the psyche in the body": it sees it, instead, as "…an achievement". In this profound book Alessandra Lemma underlines the relevance of the heterogeneity of pathways to the understanding of transgender as it encompasses a range of lived experiences. This deeply sensitive book, which also displays examples of her clinical work, will be a valuable resource for all those interested in exploring this complex area.'
Rosine Perelberg, President of the British Psychoanalytical Society, author of Sexuality, Excess and Representation and editor of Psychic Bisexuality
'There could not be a more appropriate, indeed urgently needed, time for a serious, empathic consideration of transgender identity. As cultural norms are dramatically shifting and identity politics are often highly polarized, it is both an act of courage and clinical sophistication for Professor Lemma to ask simply and directly how individuals find a "hospitable home" in their bodies. From that simple but profound question comes a call for a respectfully challenging consideration of how we can clinically do better for those individuals with transgender identity and at the same time, encourage a more tolerant, accepting society for all. This is a book clinicians working with adolescents and young adults in our contemporary culture cannot afford to pass by for it necessarily challenges day to day practice around transgender identity.'
Professor Linda Mayes, Arnold Gesell Professor, Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
Table of Contents
Introduction: Identity in Modern Times 01. Research perspectives on transgender 02. Understanding Transgender: Controversies and Challenges 03. Arriving at the Body 04. Trans-itory Identities? Adolescent development, gender and identity 05. Towards a psychoanalytic ethics-based practice with transgender individuals Conclusion: Keeping the body in mind
About the Author:
Alessandra Lemma is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. She is Visiting Professor, Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London. For many years she worked at the Tavistock Clinic where she was, at different points, Head of Psychology and Professor of Psychological Therapies (in conjunction with Essex University). Until 2020, she was the Editor of the New Library of Psychoanalysis book series (Routledge) and was one of the regional Editors for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis until 2018. She has published extensively on psychoanalysis, the body and trauma.