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psychoanalysis queerness

Notes on the psychoanalytic treatment of queer patients

1. Please understand I speak as a lay person. I know so little.

2. All the key notions of psychoanalytic theory and psychoanalytic practice are subverted by queerness. Approaching a queer patient with therapeutic and conceptual tools developed mostly within a patriarchal, heteronormative framework will by necessity cause pain and (re)traumatize.

3. Feminist psychoanalysis is probably a godsend, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read it.

4. A queer person has a history in which the development of libido and the development of the death drive go hand in hand. I mean this in the most literal sense possible: our libido was never allowed, never possible. We knew this very early on, probably as babies. Our desire was always a forbidden desire that we absolutely needed to kill. (I realize a certain psychoanalytic thinking understands all sexuality this way; please spare me).

5. Terror.

6. Suicide.

7. Suicidal baby.

8. The queer baby dies in order to survive.

9. Love is tainted. Inherently. Even if we are deeply loved.

10. We are often not deeply loved. We are strange and don’t fit. Our bodies and minds betray us and those we love every day.

11. The patient-therapist relationship doesn’t fall under the terms of traditionally conceived power relations. Using this framework to relate to the patient will hurt the patient, whose longings have already been brutally punished.

12. A new understanding of the love between the patient and the analyst is imperative.

13. Analysts are socialized in a heteronormative, patriarchal society. They need to work hard at shedding as much of their conditioning as they can.

14. We, the queer people, are inherently monstrous. We are inherently unlovable. The therapist and the patient need to dismantle the conditions of possibility of this monstrousness, together.

15. An unusual openness is required. Rules must be broken. The house has already burned down.

16. We grieve together an irreparable sorrow. We grieve together a life lost. Healing can exist only through radical rebuilding. The master’s tools

17. Queer psychoanalytic houses are made of plasticine and wind tunnels. No one is kept out.

18. The boundaries of the self are exploded. They can be affirmed only in love.

18. We go together deep into the wreck; we feed off barnacles; we build underwater chambers in which to have afternoon tea.

19. There is no normal.

20. Libido freely passes back and forth between patient and analyst.

Illustration

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