Uncoupling Convention: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Same-sex Couples and Families

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Ann D'Ercole, Jack Drescher
Analytic Press, 2004 - Psychology - 180 pages
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What does it mean to be member of a gay/lesbian couple or family? The contributors to Uncoupling Convention: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Same-Sex Couples and Families address this question by drawing on two cultural movements of the twentieth century: psychoanalysis and the gay/lesbian civil rights movement. Taken together, these traditions provide a framework for understanding, and providing psychotherapeutic assistance to, gay and lesbian patients who present with troubled relationships.
The contributors to this volume espouse a clinical focus that supplants the heterosexual perspectives of traditional psychoanalysis with new narratives about family life. Drawing on cultural, feminist, gay/lesbian, and queer studies, they illustrate how concepts of gender and sexuality are routinely informed by unproven heterosexist assumptions - both conscious and unconscious.

By examining the changing developmental needs and family dynamics of gay and lesbian families, the contributors broaden our very understanding of what a family is. They illustrate how contrasting cultural constructions of homosexuality and family life play out in same-sex couples. They delineate the multiple realities of gender subjectivity, both in children and in their gay parents. They ponder how technology is shaping reproductive experiences, as lesbians become part of the biomedical system. And they explore recurrent themes of feeling different and ashamed, including the shameful secrecy surrounding same-sex couples' financial matters. In uncoupling conventions, the contributors are effectively coupling post-Freudian psychoanalysis with the insights of queer theory and the critical edge of contemporary cultural studies. The result is a framework for addressing the relational and family-related challenges of gay and lesbian patients that ranges far beyond traditional approaches and will benefit analytic, couples, and family therapists alike.

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