Lesbian Identity and Contemporary Psychotherapy: A Framework for Clinical Practice

Author(s) : Eda Goldstein, Author(s) : Lois Horowitz

Lesbian Identity and Contemporary Psychotherapy: A Framework for Clinical Practice

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Recent contributions to the psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic literature have moved beyond traditional views of lesbianism, but they have tended to address lesbian identity from one theoretical vantage point or another. Rarely have new ideas been linked to the process issues that arise in actual clinical situations. Lesbian Identity and Contemporary Psychotherapy undertakes this very task, and, in so doing, documents the therapeutic gains that result from validating lesbian sexual identity and life experience. Drawing on contemporary relational thinking and new perspectives on gender and sexuality, Goldstein and Horowitz describe and illustrate an affirmative approach to clinical work with lesbians at various stages of the life cycle. Adolescent, young adult, and family issues are all brought within their compass. Making ample use of case vignettes, they demonstrate the ways in which therapists can elicit their patients' personal narratives of self-acceptance as lesbians and coming out experiences; work with the transference and countertransference dynamics subsequent to such disclosures; and finally explore the collaborative process through which therapist and patient seek to understand their therapeutic interaction. A range of life circumstances are brought within the authors' refreshingly hands-on clinical approach. Special consideration is given to issues arising when lesbians date and initiate romantic relationships and to the relationship problems that develop in ongoing partnerships during the middle and later years. The book concludes by discussing the issues faced by lesbian therapists in treating lesbian patients and in interacting with heterosexual colleagues. An exemplary overview of newer views of lesbian identity and of the challenges of lesbian life, Lesbian Identity and Contemporary Psychotherapy is equally valuable as an up to date, relationally informed guide to clinical work with lesbian patients.

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