Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.  is Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Lehman College (CUNY). On the faculties of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, Adelphi University Derner Institute in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, the Stephen A. Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis, and other institutes, she is Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and an Associate Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues. She is also a founding board member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Muriel Dimen has written Sexuality, Intimacy, Power (Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2003); Surviving Sexual Contradictions (NY: Macmillan, 1986); and The Anthropological Imagination (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1977). She has edited With Culture in Mind: Psychoanalytic Stories (NY: Routledge, 2011) and co-edited Gender in Psychoanalytic Space: Between Clinic and Culture with Virginia Goldner (NY: The Other Press, 2002. Dr. Dimen’s presentation is based on her 2011 paper “Lapsus linguae, Or a slip of the tongue? A sexual violation in an analytic treatment and its personal and theoretical aftermath” (Contemporary Psychoanalysis 47: 36-79). She is currently working on a memoir based on that essay, entitled Flipping the Couch. Muriel Dimen is a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities, New York University and practices and supervises in Manhattan.
Sexual boundary violations are as old as psychoanalysis, as is the silence about them. To them, we tend to respond with the super-ego injunction: “Don’t!” But might not this top-down prohibition correspond exactly to the perpetrator’s unreflective act? To address the problem, psychoanalysis must transcend the uneasy divide between thought and action, acting so as to foster, not foreclose, reflection. The author, an analyst herself, puts her own experience of a sexual boundary infraction into clinical and theoretical perspective. She addresses how this trauma manifested in, and vitiated, the analytic relationship. And she suggests how to think about and thereby mourn our shared damage.
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Alicia Zaludova