Inspired by the clinical and ethical contributions of Muriel Dimen, Social Aspects of Sexual Boundary Trouble goes beyond the established consensus that sexual boundary violations (SBV) constitute a serious breach of professional ethics, in order to explore the cultural and historical implications of their chronic persistence.
In Rotten Apples and Ambivalence, her last major publication, Dimen (2016) maintained that "the phenomenon of sexual transgression between analyst and patient . . . is insufficiently addressed so long as it is only deemed psychological." In responding to and developing Dimen's argument, the distinguished contributors to this volume bring the discussion of SBV to a new level of ethical rigor and depth, challenging the psychoanalytic profession to go beyond its codified complacency. This collection shatters normative professional guidelines by focusing on the complicity and hypocrisy of professional groups, while at the same time raising the taboo subject of the ordinary practicing clinician's unconscious professional ambivalence and potentially "rogue" sexual subjectivity.
Social Aspects of Sexual Boundary Trouble uncovers the roots of SBV in the institutional origins and history of psychoanalysis as a profession. Exploring Dimen's concept of the psychoanalytic "primal crime," which is in some ways constitutive of the profession, and the inherently unstable nature of interpersonal and professional "boundaries," Social Aspects of Sexual Boundary Trouble breaks new ground in the continuing struggle of psychoanalysis to reconcile itself with its liminal social status and its origins as a subversive, morally ambiguous practice.
It will be highly relevant to specialists in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, critical theory, feminist studies and social thought.
Charles Levin, Ph.D., F.I.P.A. is a Training and Supervising Analyst, Editor-in-chief, Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, and Director, Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis. He has edited and authored several analytic books and many articles on clinical, ethical and cultural topics.
- Introduction: Social Preconditions of Psycho-Sexual Violations in Psychoanalysis: Reflections on the work of Muriel Dimen
Collective Responsibility for the Primal Crime
2. Rotten Apples and Ambivalence: Sexual Boundary Violations through a Psychocultural Lens
Social Aspects of Psycho-Sexual Boundary Violations
3. Rehabilitation in a Boundary Violation from the Perspective of the Transgressor
4. BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS
The assaults on thinking: Consequences and remedies
5. When the Cat Guards the Canary: Using Bystander Intervention Towards Community-Based Response
6. Does Sexuality Have Anything to with Sexual Boundary Violations?
Locating the Psycho-Sexual Boundary
7. Reflections on the Aesthetics of the Psychic Boundary Concept: Or, Why Refer to Sexual Misconduct with Patients as Boundary Violation?
8. When the Body Knows the Mind's Rest
9. From No to Know: Charting the "Space Between"
10. Boundary Trouble in the Psychoanalytic Republic: Reflections on Muriel Dimen's Concept of the 'Primal Crime'
11. Losing Our Psychoanalytic Virginity
MURIEL DIMEN (in conversation with CHARLES LEVIN)
"Most of the literature on sexual boundary violations focuses on the individual psychology of the analyst and the patient. This groundbreaking volume treats the continuing prevalence of boundary violations as a property of the group, focusing steadily on the analyst's transgression as an inherent by-product of the profession itself. What is it about psychoanalysis that breeds ethical misconduct in the name of healing? Is there a cure? This book is riveting, both for its original and well-written scholarship and its direct confrontation of the psychoanalytic field."
Dawn Skorczewski, Ph.D, Research Professor of English, Brandeis University