In psychoanalysis, love can be or at least feel dangerous. Certainly, our history is replete with examples of love or lust challenging and too often breaking through crucial boundaries. And so, until recently, when love—especially but not only the sexual or romantic variety--bloomed in the consultation room, it was more often than not seen as toxic, iatrogenic, and anything but the enlivening and growth enhancing feeling that often develops between two people engaging in an intimate relationship. In the contemporary analytic community, it is no longer surprising to talk about love for our patients, their love for us, and what this stirs for each party. But for many clinicians, there can still be great shame and guilt that make it difficult to more deeply explore and share these aspects of our work. My previous writing in this area focused on the therapeutic action of the analyst’s erotic and romantic love. Today I will present just such an analytic love story, versions of which I have written or told before, and never without my own residue of those very feelings. This time though, my interest in the telling has less to do with the therapeutic action of this love, than my significant concerns about the potential clinical limitations of that very same love.
At the end of this presentation participants will be able to:
1. Articulate one example from their own clinical practice in which their fond or loving feelings for a patient became part of the therapeutic action.
2. List at least one way in which one of their loving or other affective responses to a patient might have impeded the therapeutic action.
Dr. Steven Kuchuck is Senior Consulting Editor (formerly Editor-in-Chief) of the journal Psychoanalytic Perspectives, Co-Editor; Routledge Relational Perspectives Book Series, Immediate Past President of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP), faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and Board Member, supervisor, faculty, at NIP, and faculty/supervisor at the NIP National Training Program, Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center and other institutes. Dr. Kuchuck lectures nationally and internationally and his teaching and writing focus primarily on the clinical impact of the therapist’s subjectivity. His most recent book, The Relational Revolution in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, was published by Confer Books in 2021 and has been nominated for the Gradiva Award for best psychoanalytic book of 2021 .In 2015 and 2016, he won the Gradiva for Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional and The Legacy of Sandor Ferenczi: From Ghost to Ancestor (co-edited with Adrienne Harris). His newest book, co-edited with Linda Hopkins, is Diary of a Psychoanalyst: The Work Books of Masud Khan, due out in 2022 from Karnac Books. His clinical and supervisory practice is in Manhattan and his study groups are conducted virtually.
Atlas, G. (2020). When Minds Meet: The Work of Lewis Aron (London: Routledge)
Kuchuck, S. (2021). The Relational Revolution on Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (London: Confer).
Kuchuck, S. (2018) The Analyst’s Subjectivity: On the impact of Inadvertent, Deliberate, and Silent Disclosure Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 15 (3): 265-274.