Understanding The Infantile Erotic Countertransference: An Integral Part of Ethical Psychoanalytic Practice with Avgi Saketopoulou

Understanding The Infantile Erotic Countertransference: An Integral Part of Ethical Psychoanalytic Practice with Avgi Saketopoulou

Macht Auditorium at Cambridge Hospital

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Date(s) - 02/24/2018
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Macht Auditorium, Cambridge City Hospital
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018
9:30 am – 12:30
Avgi Saketopoulou
Discussant: Johanna Malone
Moderator: Chris Lovett
with an afternoon clinical discussion
2:00 – 4:00
Avgi Saketopoulou

Discussant: Elizabeth Simpson
Moderator: Robert Riethmiller


Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou adds a new dimension to understanding the unremitting problem of sexual boundary violations, proposing that the analyst’s own infantile sexual (Laplanche) may charge some erotic countertransferences with rarely acknowledged experiential intensity. Downplaying this vehemence and failing to recognize the force with which erotic feelings can seize the analyst leave her in a potentially explosive situation, threatening to capsize a treatment. Dr. Saketopoulou fleshes out our formidable collective resistances even to acknowledging such countertransferences. She argues that the dyadic space of supervision/personal analysis is insufficient to reign in the plenitudes of the sexual. That task requires the work of a collective, making the prevention of boundary violations a matter of not only individual but also group ethics. Concrete suggestions are offered as to how to bear speaking more openly and about the role the group can play when analysts struggle.

Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou is on faculty at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the William Allanson White Institute, the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, the Stephen Mitchell Relational Center and the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. She serves on the editorial boards of JAPA, Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Studies in Gender and Sexuality (SGS) and has received several awards including, the Ruth Stein prize, the Ralph Roughton award from APsAA, the Symonds prize from SGS and the JAPA annual prize. Dr. Saketopoulou has published work on trauma and its representation, on traumatic and normative gender, on psychosexuality and perversion and on the enigmatics of consent.

Johanna C. Malone, PhD is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She serves as a clinical supervisor at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School and is faculty at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP). She is the Associate Editor of Psychoanalytic Psychology and a co-editor for child and adolescent personality sections of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM-2). Her writing focuses on creativity and the centrality of developmental processes to experience.

Christopher Lovett, Ph.D. trained at The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is member of the board of directors of The Boston Group for Psychoanalytic Studies. He is co-chair of the discussion group on ‘Italian Psychoanalysis’ at the annual meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association.


AFTERNOON with Avgi Saketopoulou
The day continues with a clinical discussion.  Elizabeth Simpson will present a case that involves issues of gender and sexuality.  
Elizabeth Simpson, LICSWis a psychoanalyst in private practice in Cambridge, MA.  She is a graduate and faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis where she co-teaches Gender and Sexuality.  She also holds an MA in anthropology and has an interest in thinking about the relationship between our social worlds and psychic lives.
Moderator Robert Riethmiller is a graduate of the MIP analytic training program and is on the faculty at MIP.  He currently teaches both the affect theory and adolescent development courses here at MIP.  Dr. Riethmiller is in private practice in Brookline, where he sees adolescents and adults.  He is also the co-chair of MIP’s program committee.


Learning objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss how the analyst’s infantile sexuality contributes to the infantile erotic countertransference.
  2. Explain why infantile erotic countertransferences are hard to admit to ourselves and even harder to discuss with trusted professional colleagues.
  3. Explain why a dyadic relationship (supervision or analysis) is insufficient in mitigating the intensity of these countertransferences.

Suggested Readings

  1. Celenza, A. (2010). The guilty pleasure of erotic countertransference: Searching for radial true. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 11, 175–183.
  2.  Dimen, M. (2016). Rotten apples and ambivalence: Sexual boundary violations through a psychocultural lens. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 64(2), 361–373.
  3.  Scarfone, D. (2014). The Three Essays and the Meaning of the Infantile Sexual in Psychoanalysis.Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 83(2), 327-344.

Continuing Education   

Credits are only available for the morning session.

The program is FREE, however, non-MIP members must pay $15 per credit if they wish to receive CEs. This program offers 3 CEs for $45. After the program you will be contacted by email and given the opportunity to purchase CEs. CEs are free for MIP members.

Psychologists: The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP) is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  MIP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Workers: An application for social work continuing education credits has been submitted. Please contact Liz Martin at reachMIP@gmail.com for the status of social work CE accreditation.

Physicians: The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit (s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

LMHC please contact  reachmip@gmail.com for information

Questions about this program should be directed to Liz Martin at reachmip@gmail.com OR 617-469-2777.

(617) 469-2777

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