Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man by Jack Drescher
Do the conventional insights of depth psychology have anything to offer the gay patient? Can contemporary psychoanalytic theory be used to make sense of gay identities in ways that are helpful rather than hurtful, respectful rather than retraumatizing? In Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man Jack Drescher addresses these very questions as he outlines a therapeutic approach to issues of sexual identity that is informed by traditional therapeutic goals (such as psychological integration and more authentic living) while still respecting, even honoring, variations in sexual orientation.
Drescher's exploration of the subjectivities of gay men in psychoanalytic psychotherapy is more than a long-overdue corrective to the inadequate and often pathologizing tomes of traditional psychoanalytic writers. It is a vitally human testament to the richly varied inner experiences of gay men. Drescher does not assume that sexual orientation is the entire or even major focus of intensive psychotherapy. But he does argue, passionately and convincingly, that issues of sexual identity - which encompass a spectrum of possibilities for any gay man - must be addressed in an atmosphere of honest encounter that allows not only for exploration of conflict and dissociation but also for restitutive confirmation of the patient's right to be himself.
Through its abundance of first-person testimony from both clinical and literary sources, Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man provides the reader with an unforgettable grasp of what it is like to discover that one is gay in our society and then to find the courage and humanity to live with that knowledge. Any mental health professional - regardless of his or her sexual orientation - who wishes to deal therapeutically with gay men will find Drescher's work indispensable. But it will also be compelling reading for anyone seeking psychological insight into gay men's lives and concerns.
Introduction. Defining a Gay Identity. Theories of the Etiology of Homosexuality. Therapeutic Meanings of Antihomosexuality. Psychoanalytic Theories of Homosexual Development. Reparative Therapies. The Therapist's Stance. Developmental Narratives of Gay Men. The Closet. Coming Out.
What People are Saying About This
Stephen A. Mitchell
Psychoanalysis is in the process of emerging from a dark age in which understandings and clinical approaches to homosexuality were driven by deep fears and pervaded by utter nonsense. Jack Drescher's Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man is an important contribution to that emergence. He explores key dimensions of the experiences and struggles of gay men, in terms of both what is known and also what is not known, in a frank and lucid manner. This book will be invaluable to any clinician working with gay men, not so much as a guide for what to do, but, more important, as a guide for what to think about and struggle with. It will also be of interest to anyone interested in the complexities of all sexualities in our time.
Jack Drescher has comprehensively gathered and usefully interpreted a vast amount of material relating to psychoanalytic therapy and gay men. His book is a measure of the huge distance the therapeutic community has come over the past several decades in its compassionate understanding of same-gender relationships - and is itself a significant contribution to further