Sensate Focus and the Psyche: Integrating Sense and Sexuality in Couple Therapy

  • ISBN 9780367367824
  • Author: Pacey, Susan
  • Publ Date: 2023-10-20
  • Edition: 1
  • Binding: Paperback / softback

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Sensate Focus and the Psyche explores in depth both psychoanalytic and psychosexual perspectives of sensate focus, a programme of touching exercises for couples with sexual problems, and in so doing provides an original, integrated model for understanding the conscious and unconscious impact of this tactile intervention on couples in treatment.

Susan Pacey reviews the historical relationship between psychoanalysis and sex therapy and the splitting of mind, body and relationship since Freud. She illustrates how the tactile intervention can help repair the early life impingements on partners' individual development that mobilise anxieties about sexuality and shame in adulthood. Case studies illustrate how sensate focus can help conceptualise unconscious embodied memories, repair shame, encourage Winnicottian play, work through transitional phenomena and develop psychological space, establishing a platform for the healthy expression of adult sexuality. Pacey discusses how sexual desire and aggression are inextricably linked in the human psyche, proposing that sensate focus can help enable positive aggression necessary for sex and reduce the potential for partners' anxieties about their psychological separateness. Lastly, she proposes judicious use of this powerful, tactile intervention and highlights contraindications.

Sensate Focus and the Psyche will be essential reading for all psychotherapists who work with individuals, couples and families.
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