Contemporary psychoanalytic account of gender and sexual diversity in the theory of Jean Laplanche
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Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Wydział Filozoficzny, Instytut Psychologii
Submission date: 2022-03-16
Acceptance date: 2022-05-23
Publication date: 2022-11-29
Corresponding author
Miłosz Wujek   

Instytut Psychologii, Wydział Filozoficzny - Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Psychoter 2022;201(2):33-47
This article presents Jean Laplanche’s concept of the “sexual” as a proposal of a psychoanalytic theory adequate to contemporary changes in the understanding of human sexuality, gender and the needs of a new kind of patient in psychotherapeutic clinics. The first part of the article consists of an analysis of the evolution of the understanding of sexuality in the classical Freudian theory and then by Freud's Anglo-Saxon continuators, currently representing the mainstream of psychoanalysis. The tension between the emancipatory potential of psychoanalysis and the tendency of psychoanalysts to construct exclusionary norms based on social conventions or outdated theories, which nowadays face widespread criticism, is shown. The second part is a brief introduction to Jean Laplanche's metapsychology and a presentation of how the psychoanalytic unconscious as framed by the general theory of seduction can provide a theoretical construct for better understanding of the origins of gender identification, the choice of the object of the drive, and other issues central to work not only with sexually or gender-diverse patients. Laplanche delineates the individual sexual unconscious as the proper area of psychoanalytic inquiry and therapeutic influence. In doing so, he transcends the opposition of the innate and the social, known as the dualism of sex and gender. The drive originating in the enigmatic message of the adult other precedes and conditions the sexual instinct, rendering any identity constructed based on this sphere of life doomed to partial failure.
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