Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 69 Issue 1 (March 1996), Pages 1-84

Erotic transference and a threatened sense of self (pages 21-31)

In this study of erotic transference the phenomenon is defined in the manner of Freud (1915) and Blum (1973). It involves a circumscribed behaviour which consists of an erotic preoccupation with the therapist which often has the quality of an obsession. It is prolonged, usually for months or years, is relatively immutable, and can be seen as a milder variant of de Clerembault's syndrome.

It is suggested that the psychic purpose of the preoccupation is to maintain a threatened sense of self. The erotic content of the preoccupation is likely to be a consequence of the sexualization of the early relationship with caregivers, which was impingeing and disruptive of self‐development. In an illustrative case, the disturbance of this development was considered to include an impediment to the development of the transitional field, the mother herself replacing the transitional object.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>