2-Year Certificate Program (2YCP)
2023-24, 1st Term — Mondays, 6:30-7:45pm
Helene Russ, PhD


Practical application will frame the course. At the beginning, we will consider the sexualities of our patients and how to foster discourse. We will end the course by discussing our erotic reactions in the therapy room. In the middle of the course, we will investigate non-normative practices—in this case sado-masochism—from a “light” position to a violent and racialized position. This will include potentially disturbing material. One way to negotiate the material is to invoke the concept of “limit consent” (from the assigned article by Saketopoulou for October 30).

This is to say we are consenting to be rattled in order to engage differently with trauma. While we will not directly take up the issue of sex with patients, it hovers: to talk about sex is an enactment. Before class begins, I would like to encourage you to see the Cronenberg movie “A Dangerous Method” (2011) so that we can refer to it in class.

It’s a fictional rendering of the actual sexual relationship between Carl Jung and his brilliant patient, Sabina Spilrein, while bringing in sado-masochistic elements.

Learning Objectives

After attending this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate greater ease in discussing psychodynamically-informed sexual issues with each other and with patients.
  2. Explain theories behind non-normative sexual practices.

September 11, 2023 — Talking About Sex

[6 pages]

Blechner, M. (2017). Disgust, Delight, and In-Between. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(2):104-109.

(5 pages, easy read)


Iasenza, S. (2010). What is Queer About Sex?: Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory and Practice. Family Process. 49:291-308.

September 18, 2023 — The Sexual Baby

[10 pages]

Atlas, G. (2018) Has Sexuality Anything to Do with Relationality?, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 28:330-339.


Hansbury, G. (2017). The Masculine Vaginal: Working with Queen Men’s Embodiment at the Transgender Edge. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 65(6):1009-1031.

October 2, 2023 — Psychic Survival and Masochism

[28 pages]

Phillips, A. (2013) The Magical Act of a Desperate Person. London Review of Books. March 2013. pp19-20.

McDougall, J. (1995). Sexual Deviation and Psychic Survival. in The Many Faces of Eros. pp.201-214. New York: Norton.

And, the following NY Times article on findom:

Falquez, C. (2021). “She Gets Paid Just to Humiliate Her Fans.” The New York Times, 10 April, 2021.


Ghent, E. (1990). Masochism, Submission, Surrender—Masochism as a Perversion of Surrender. Contemp. Psychoanal., 26:108-136.

Skim this article; the class has encountered this article in the Spring.

October 9, 2023 — Sociological Determinants: Race & Sex & Violence

[26 pages]

Davids, F. (2020) Psychoanalysis and Black Lives. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 101(5): 1039-1047.

Also, the following NY Times articles on aspects of Asian experience:

So, P.G. (2023). “My Fetish for a Second Skin.” The New York Times, 14 July, 2023.

Stevens, M. (2023). “For Asian American Actors, Playing a Hot Mess Is Liberating.” The New York Times, 6 July, 2023.


Yi, K. (2023) Asian American Experience: the Illusion and Inclusion and the Model Minority Stereotype. Psychoanalytic Dialogues. 33(1): 45-59.

October 16, 2023 — Perversion?

[27 pages]

Eshel, O. (2005). Pentheus rather than Oedipus: On perversion, survival and analytic ‘presencing’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(4):1071-1097.

October 23, 2023 — Sex & Race & Violence Part II: Challenging Theory About Trauma

[39 pages]

“Slave Play” on Wikipedia:

Saketopoulou, A. (2022) Anti-Racist Racism: Trauma, Traumatism, Traumatophilia. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 70(6): 1071-1109

October 30, 2023 — Erotics in the Therapy Relationship

[47 pages]

Geist, R.A. (2009). Empathy, Connectedness, and the Evolution of Boundaries in Self Psychological Treatment. International Journal of Self Psychology, 4:165-180.


Roth, D. (2009). (Imagining) Erotic Mutuality: Negotiating Difference in Sexual Orientation in an Analysis. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 10:173-184.


Bollas, C. (1994). Aspects of the Erotic Transference. Psychoanalytic Inquiry. 14:572-590.

November 6, 2023 — Erotics in the Therapy Relationship (Cont.)

[18 pages]

Davies, J.M. (1994). Love in the Afternoon: A Relational Reconsideration of Desire and Dread in the Countertransference. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4: 153-170.


de Peyer, J. (2002). Private Terrors: Sexualized Aggression and a Psycho-analyt’s Fear of Her Patient. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(4):509-530.

Ackerman, A. (2019). First Encounters with Erotic Desire in Treatment. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(1):9-18.