In this talk, Leezah Hertzmann will describe some contemporary developments in psychoanalytic thinking about sexuality from a post-heteronormative standpoint, including an exploration of how heteronormative bias has relegated lived sexual experience to the side-lines.
Date and time: Friday 13 October 2023, 6pm to 7pm
Speaker: Leezah Hertzmann
Total number of places available: 500
Venue: Online via Zoom
Psychoanalysis has previously regarded same sex desire in adulthood as pathological, a deviation from the heterosexual “norm”. These homophobic attitudes and beliefs served to reinforce heteronormativity’s position as another form of “bedrock”. But in the last several decades, there has been a wider contemporary critique of classical psychoanalytic ideas about the developmental paths by which an individual becomes aware of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
We rely on theories to inform our formulations, but when we find these do not apply to the lived sexual experience of many for whom sexuality is more fluid, there is often a pressure to be “politically correct”. Consequently, clinicians can feel adrift, paralysed or silenced when encountering a patient whose values and relationship patterns are radically different from their own.
In this talk, the seventh in our online series Lectures from the Tavistock Relationships Model, Leezah Hertzmann will describe some contemporary developments in psychoanalytic thinking about sexuality from a post-heteronormative standpoint, including an exploration of how heteronormative bias has relegated lived sexual experience to the side-lines.
She will explore the role played by conscious and unconscious homophobia, the centrality of internalised homophobia, and the complexity of shame and its après coup nature. Whilst shame is a ubiquitous feeling and may not be relevant for all LGBTQI+ people, Leezah will discuss how there are elements of this struggle within all of us which can have an important bearing on both the analytic and supervisory relationships.
Advocating a more flexible encounter in the consulting room whilst maintaining the frame can potentially illuminate an understanding of all sexualities including heterosexuality. Case examples will be discussed and clinical challenges and dilemmas considered, and there will be the opportunity for attendees to ask questions.
Suitable for qualified therapists and counsellors, those in training, and those with an interest in psychoanalytic thinking.
Leezah Hertzmann is principal couple and individual psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and in private practice. Previously, she worked at Tavistock Relationships where she developed the MBT intervention and service for parental conflict. She has a career-long interest in psychoanalytic theory and technique with LGBTQ+ individuals and couples and is a member of the British Psychoanalytic Council's Advisory Committee on Sexual and Gender Diversity. She has been the recipient of two British Psychoanalytic Council awards: one in 2015 for innovation in relation to developing the MBT evidence-based intervention service at TR for parental conflict, and the second in 2019 with Juliet Newbigin, for Psychoanalysis and Diversity. Leezah teaches and publishes widely and her most recent publication, authored with Juliet, is entitled Psychoanalysis and Homosexuality: a Contemporary Introduction, published by Routledge.
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