PSYCHOANALYTIC WORK WITH EROTIC TRANSFERENCE – Six week course - sponsored by the Advanced Clinical Education Foundation of the NYSSCSW

06jun(jun 6)8:00 pm17jul(jul 17)9:30 pmPSYCHOANALYTIC WORK WITH EROTIC TRANSFERENCE – Six week course - sponsored by the Advanced Clinical Education Foundation of the NYSSCSW

Event Details

9.0 Contact Hours will be awarded for the full program

Total Fee: NYSSCSW members: $120.00; Non-members: $180.00. Registration – only through ACE Foundation – at


This course offers an in-depth journey to understanding of developmental evolution of psychoanalytic work with the erotic transference. Being seen as a resistance in psychoanalytic work, rather than the manifestation of the primal unconscious longings, the erotic transference needs to be understood in object relations terms both, as a transitional object relationship and as a psychic fantasy evolution. This evolution is a multi-dimensional mourning process, which is motivated intrapsychically and developmentally. Participants of this course will learn to see erotic transference as a journey from protosymbolic enactment to symbolic passion and poetic self-expression. They will be able to distinguish the patient with protosymbolic visceral and behavioral enactments from the neurotic patient with oedipal love symbolization and oedipal level of conflicts. Both homosexual and heterosexual aspects of erotic transference will be addressed, as well as countertransference phenomena see in the light of the patient’s developmental evolution.


​Class #1. The first week will focus on erotic transference in relation to a case described by Dr. Kavaler-Adler in her 1992 article on “Mourning and Erotic Transference.”  The lecture and discussion will concern with how a whole repressed part of a patient can be unearthed, and brought to full and passionate consciousness through a sensitivity to preoedipal  object mourning, combined with oedipal level transference work (3 and 4 times a week).


Kavaler-Adler, S. (1992).  Mourning and erotic transference.  International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73 (3), 527-239. (This article won the Arlene R. Wohlberg Memorial Award,)

Learning Goals:

  1. Participants will be able to provide 1-3 examples of the mourning as a developmental process, which can include the transferential phenomena of erotic transference.
  2. Participants will be able to recognize and synthesize the ideas of mourning preoedipal loss as a necessity for the full flowering of a contained and symbolized erotic transference, as well as provide 2 examples from their own practice or from the readings.


Class #2. The second week will include a lecture and a discussion related to another journal article of Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s on work with a Lesbian woman on her intense homoerotic transference within an overall psychoanalytic treatment (3 times a week). There will be a focus on how the patient traveled, developmentally, from protosymbolic (or presymbolic) experience to that of symbolic expression, through the avenue of the homoerotic transference, with all its rich internal world fantasy life.  The varying forms of self and other erotic fantasy constellations will be discussed, along with a focus on the transformation of enacted romantic gift giving to symbolic gift giving – through verbal expression.


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2003).  Lesbian homoerotic transference in dialectic with developmental mourning: On the way to symbolism from the protosymbolic. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 20(1), 131-152.  (This article won the Arlene R. Wohlberg Memorial Award, Postgraduate Center for Mental Health)

Learning Goals:

  1. Participants will be able to identify homoerotic fantasies within an overall transference and symbolization process and bring two examples (hypothetical and/or from readings or from their own practice or training).
  2. Participants will be able to offer 1-2 examples of their own application of awareness of female homoerotic transference fantasies to working in a developmental way in the psychoanalytic treatment.


Class #3. The third week will be related to work with a character disordered patient, who developed from psychic arrest (as in Klein’s paranoid-schizoid position) to increasing capacities to integrate and relate (as in Klein’s depressive position).  Along the way, she demonstrated an intense part- object eroticized transference that transformed into oedipal level whole-object and differentiated homoerotic and erotic transference.  The chapter written on her case by Dr. Kavaler-Adler illustrates how opening the formerly blocked avenues to erotic desire allowed the patient (client) to be able to contain formerly overwhelming instinctual impulses, which had been expressed in an oral form of “biting” verbal sadistic and sarcastic attacks on the analyst in the transference.


Kavaler-Adler, S. (1998).  Vaginal core or vampire mouth:  the visceral level of envy in women:   the protosymbolic politics of object relations.  In N. Burke (Ed.), Gender and Envy,

London: Routledge.

Learning Goals:

  1. Participants will identify 1-2 examples of polarization of erotic desire and defensive preoedipal oral sadism in the readings provided in the class, as well as any other readings on the topic.
  2. Participants will role-play of potential therapeutic situation of helping the client to express their desires in words in the transference, so that oral sadism can be neutralized and modified.


Class #4. The fourth class will involve the study of an in depth long term case in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s book, Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis.  This is a case of a neurotic male patient, ‘Phillip’, who was capable of symbolizing his erotic transference desires from the beginning of treatment.  A view of Phillip’s conscious erotic fantasy will be discussed, as unconscious associations to the childhood mother emerge into consciousness through the free associations (of a neurotic patient).  Unlike the other discussed cases, Phillip knew he desired the female psychoanalyst as he had unconsciously desired his mother, when he was a young boy and even further back to infancy in his psychic fantasy.


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2003).  Mourning, spirituality, and psychic change: A new

object relations view of psychoanalysis.  London:  Routledge. (This book received 2004 Gradiva® Award from NAAP)

Learning Goals:

  1. Using the assigned reading material, the participants will identify 2-3 examples of the male (neurotic level) patient making connections between his current erotic transference with his female analyst and his childhood sexual desires for his mother.
  2. Participants will show their understanding of how patients with various level of psychic functioning deal with their erotic transference – by utilizing the role-play technique.


Class #5. The fifth class will focus on all the developmental avenues to symbolization through the conscious subjective experience of erotic transference, following the unconscious dissociated experience of both eroticized (part-object) transference and full (whole-object) erotic transference.


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2014).  Erotic transference: A journey to passion and symbolization. MindConsiliums, 14(1), 19-43.

Learning goal:

Participants will identify erotic transference phenomena in its developmental manifestations – in the assigned reading, so that erotic fantasy contained in the transference relationships can be seen as a route towards symbolization, not as a transference resistance.


Class #6. This class will focus on homoerotic transference in the heterosexual woman, which is described in the in-depth case of ‘June’ in Dr. Kavaler-Adler’s book, Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change. This case discussion will be accompanied by an experiential role play.


Kavaler-Adler, S. (2003).  Mourning, spirituality, and psychic change: A new object relations view of psychoanalysis.  London: Routledge.

Learning goals:

  1. Participants will identify homoerotic transference in a heterosexual person as a transitional phase in treatment, on the way to oedipal level erotic transference – in the assigned reading.
  2. Participants will provide examples of homoerotic transference in a heterosexual person – via the role play or discussion of their own case example.


Instructor:  Susan Kavaler-Adler, Ph.D., ABPP, D.Litt., NCPsyA is the founder, executive director, training analyst and a senior supervisor, as well as the advisor to the Training Committee of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ORI). Dr. Kavaler-Adler is a diplomate and a fellow of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and an active member of the Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the APA.  She has 40 years’ experience in object relations psychoanalytic practice, specializing in psychotrauma, grief and mourning of losses, blocks to creativity and intimacy, erotic transference, self-sabotage, fears of success, love addiction, inhibitions, compulsions, demon lover addictions, haunting regrets, repetitive issues, betrayal in love, body awareness, etc. Dr. Kavaler-Adler is a prolific author, with five books(published with Routledge, Karnac, and ORI Academic Press) and over sixty peer-reviewed articles and books chapters.  She has received 15 awards for her writing in the field of psychoanalysis, including the Gradiva® Award form NAAP in 2004.


For more information, and to register, visit

Advanced Clinical Education Foundation of the NYSSCSW, Inc., SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0056.


Mondays, 6/6; 6/13; 6/20, 6/27, & 7/11, 7/18, 2016 (8:00 – 9:30 pm)