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  • Taking Back the Night: Psychoanalysis’ Reappropriation of Seduction Theory (Lecture)

Taking Back the Night: Psychoanalysis’ Reappropriation of Seduction Theory (Lecture)

  • March 02, 2018
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Montview Blvd Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia Street, Denver, CO 80220
  • 77


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Featuring Dana Charatan, Psy.D.

The inception of psychoanalysis began with Freud’s rejection of his so-called theory of seduction and movement towards a creation of infantile sexuality and fantasy. There were many reasons for Freud’s decision to disavow his beliefs that many of the neurotic and hysterical patients with whom he was working had been sexually abused and seduced in reality, many of them political (for a review see Ahbel-Rappe, 2006). However, while this repudiation allowed for the origination of analytic theory, it cast an ominous shadow over the horrors of the actual occurrence of child sexual abuse, with which the field had to renegotiate a century later. In addition, Freud’s shift codified the notion that seduction is inherently deplorable, exploitative, and traumatizing. What has gotten lost is the idea of seduction as a not only necessary but also integral aspect of any analytic engagement, Psychoanalysis at its core is a series of invitations to connect, of minds to meet, of bodies to come together in space, to dance, to move forward and back in the spirit of deepening the patient’s understanding of herself and her experience of the world around her. I believe that what has been referred to as moments of meeting (Stern et al., 1998) are almost always precipitated by what I would call a microseduction, an invitation on the part of either the patient or the analyst to take a leap of faith, to become vulnerable to new ways of being that elicit the structural changes that are inherent to a positive treatment outcome. In fact, we are so accustomed to equating seduction with the persuasion of one into sexual activity that we elide the second part of the definition, quite literally “to entice into a different state or position” (American Heritage Dictionary, 2011). I would like to explore these moments of invitation, what could be called seductions, so that as a field we no longer view the concept of seduction as solely iatrogenic or harmful but also consider the ways in which a “seductive” or welcoming stance may open the analytic space so that both parties can be present playfully and creatively, attitudes which are intrinsic to the psychoanalytic encounter.

This event is free of charge but we gladly welcome donations at the event or on our website.

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About Dana Charatan, Psy.D.

Dr. Charatan is  a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in the state of Colorado. She completed her pre-doctoral internship and her post-doctoral fellowship at the Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado.

 In addition to providing psychotherapy, supervision, and consultation services, she is also a published author and nationally and internationally invited speaker on a variety of topics related to psychology and psychoanalysis, including eating disorders, working with survivors of abuse and other traumas, and training of young professionals. She has extensive experience in mentoring graduate students and young professionals, supervising, consulting, and program development for individuals in training ranging from undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels.

A printable version of our lecture series can be found here.

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