Sexual Addiction: Psychoanalytic Concepts and the Art of Supervision

Author(s) : Vamik D. Volkan

Sexual Addiction: Psychoanalytic Concepts and the Art of Supervision

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : June 2021
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 112
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 95656
  • ISBN 13 : 9781912691388
  • ISBN 10 : 1912691388
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Vamik D. Volkan recounts the story of Judy, a woman attempting to solve her early life deprivations through non-chemical addiction. He provides an understanding of the psychology behind such an addiction and also illustrates pertinent therapeutic concepts and issues which arose in Judy’s case. These include built-in transference, twinning, interpretation, dreams, hoarding, acting out, and therapeutic play. By paying attention to such things, it is possible to gain a greater understanding of the internal worlds of patients with preoedipal deprivations, conflicts, and fixations.

For this case, Dr Volkan undertook the role of supervisor to an analyst in training. The topics of the psychoanalytic supervisor–supervisee relationship and the supervisor’s emotional reactions toward the patient, whom the supervisor never meets, are rather ignored in the psychoanalytic literature. This book gives an open and frank overview of the relationship, reporting not only what was said but also what lay behind the words.

Written in Dr Volkan’s characteristically accessible style, this book will be enjoyed equally by those under supervision as those providing it, and provides an excellent overview of work with addiction.

Reviews and Endorsements

Vamık Volkan continues to defy the law of gravity, as he further elevates our field with his latest, and, arguably, best clinical book to date. Drawing upon a lifetime of accumulated wisdom, he gives us a bird’s eye view into his work as a supervisor of an analytic candidate’s case of a traumatized woman. Speaking clearly and directly to the reader, we follow the successful course of both the analysis and the evolution of the analyst’s professional identity. This beautifully written book is sensitive, scholarly, and remarkably accessible. It exemplifies Volkan’s extraordinary generativity, and is mandatory reading for analytic therapists at all levels.
Ira Brenner, M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, and Director Emeritus, Psychotherapy Training Program, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Sidney Kimmel Medical School of Thomas Jefferson University

It is a joy to read this book, especially in a time where psychoanalysis is often considered an outdated method. This book proves the opposite. Vamık Volkan describes the psychoanalytic process of a female patient who presented considerable sexual addiction in her daily life. Dr. Volkan was the supervisor of her analyst, who still was in training. The illustration of the process of supervision enriches this case study outstandingly, as the reader learns not only what Dr. Volkan tells his supervisee but also why he does it. Demonstrating how the patient ́s problems and reactions affect both analyst and supervisor emotionally, he skillfully uses the material to help (train) his supervisee to develop a stable psychoanalytic identity.
Treating patients with an addiction is a challenge for both analyst and method. Dr. Volkan provides an understanding of the psychodynamics of nonchemical addiction, giving many case examples from his own practice. He discusses how deprivations and fixations in early childhood may cause symptoms like sexual addiction later in life. The reader gains insight into the use of expanded analytic methods when treating patients with preoedipal dynamics. Dr. Volkan unfolds his understanding of psychoanalytic theory and its concepts as they have developed in his mind during decades of working as an analyst, supervisor, teacher, and author. This book will be a treasure in any psychoanalytic training program.
Kristina Saraneva, Clinical Psychologist, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Therapeia Institute (IFPS), Helsinki Finland

The author’s approach and style result in a clear explanation of the key points while maintaining interest for the reader. This is not a dry read and is best suited to reading from cover to cover. […] This is an enjoyable read and a good starting point to delve deeper into the concepts offered within. I found Volkan’s book to be a good addition to my library.
Beverly Neeson, student member of BACP, ‘Therapy Today’ March 2022

In his latest book, Vamik Volkan, esteemed psychoanalyst, scholar and prolific author, takes up the phenomenon of sexually compulsive behaviour [...] The story is one that describes the layered, at times daunting, analytic journey of Judy, Dr Rowan and Volkan, and reminds us of the power of analytic treatment and its usefulness with some of the most complicated and entrenched repetitive behaviours and destructive patterns.
Drew Tillotson, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 103:2, 2022

Table of Contents

About the author
About this book

Chapter 1
A “hunter” of men

Chapter 2
Psychoanalytic perspectives on addictions

Chapter 3
Built-in transference

Chapter 4

Chapter 5
Judy’s analysis begins: Establishing a psychoanalytic foundation and linking interpretations

Chapter 6
The first dream and Judy’s first year of analysis

Chapter 7
Animals, birds, fish, or insects “on the couch”

Chapter 8
Judy’s dog

Chapter 9
Analysands’ actions

Chapter 10
Therapeutic play

Chapter 11
Therapeutic neutrality and countertransference

Chapter 12
Reaching P and renovating a new house

Chapter 13
Finding R

Chapter 14
What happened to Judy after I stopped working with Dr. Rowan?


About the Author(s)

Vamik D. Volkan is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, an Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, and the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He is the president of the International Dialogue Initiative and a former president of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society, and the American College of Psychoanalysts. He received the Sigmund Freud Award given by the city of Vienna in collaboration with the World Council of Psychotherapy, and in 2015 received the Sigourney Award, honouring achievements for the advancement of psychoanalysis.

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