It was my own urge to sexualise all my relationships that made me so defensive about my feelings for my analystby Anna Blundy / November 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Note: not what most therapist’s offices actually look like. “I’m not sure if I want to crawl into her vagina like a baby getting back into the womb, or if I want to put my penis into her vagina in an adult sexual way,” my psychoanalyst friend said, spearing a whitebait. “Or both?” I suggested. He was talking about his own analyst, or, rather, shouting about her because the restaurant was packed and noisy. “Do you tell her this?” I asked, thinking it must be uncomfortable for her to hear this stuff at 7am, first patient of the day. “Of course. I’d never have got to the end of training if I didn’t go there,” he said. “Don’t you tell James your fantasies about him?” He used my analyst’s first name with the kind of flourish with which someone in a different business might say Meryl or Leo. “No!” I said. “I don’t have any!” We both laughed at my hilarious joke… I remember years ago people asking me if I was in love with my analyst. I would scoff and say: “You haven’t seen him!” Now I realise I was being defensive. Basically, if you think you aren’t attracted to your therapist, gender notwithstanding, you will be or you have been, or you are so deeply repressed as to be incurable. I had a friend in training who was so overwhelmed by her passion for her female therapist (the friend identified as heterosexual) that she considered stopping. In fact, she came out the other end feeling intimately connected to her therapist without the need to sexualise the relationship. She was still straight, but much more in touch with the part of her that isn’t. It was my own urge to sexualise all my relationships that made me so defensive about my feelings for my analyst. Did I used to think he fancied me secretly? Absolutely. With mock shame at my former blindness, I told my dinner friend about this: “I was in my twenties and went into a session very provocatively dressed on the way to a photo shoot. I handed over a cheque at the end and my analyst said: ‘There is something dismissive about the way you are waving your chest at me.’ I raised my eyebrows at him, amazed that he, of all people, would make such a massive Freudian slip. Ruffled, he said: ‘It’s called the counter-transference.’” “That’s not what I call it.” (Well, not what I used to call it.) “You showed him your breasts and he was turned on,” my friend concluded. “Pretty much,” I admitted, gleefully. Or, more accurately, I was unconsciously trying to seduce him and he recognised that. With our therapists we play out the way we behave in real life and are able to examine it because he or she, ideally, doesn’t play along or bring their own baggage. Some version of this aggressive seduction, mockery and dismissal was how I attacked men/defended myself from men in real life. “So, are you trying to seduce me now?” my dinner friend asked. I thought about it. “I don’t think so. But I would have been 10 years ago. I would have needed you to find me attractive. To put me in control. Why? Are you trying to seduce me?” He laughed. The trouble in this business is that talking graphically about sexual feelings for and fantasies about people we never will or would have any actual sexual contact with in real life (including each other) is normal. Most people leave those thoughts and feelings unconscious. We can’t, because working through the unspoken sexual content of our minds and relationships is at the core of psychoanalytic theory. “I don’t think so,” he said, unsure. “But I might after another glass of wine.” Hey, we’re human too.