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Thinking Here and Now –

Conversation  with Innovators in Psychotherapy (zoom)

Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman hosting

conversation with
Galit Atlas

on Sexuality: From The Enigma of Desire to The Secrets of Others

conversation with
Galit Atlas

21.2.21 Sunday , 7:30pm - 9:15 pm (Israel Time; UTC+2)
New York time 12:30-2:15pm

"Ella speaks of her desire toward men. She speaks of her father, but I cannot stop thinking about women and about her mother. I feel that she is talking to me, telling me the way she wants me to touch her. For Ella sex is a promise—a promise to be known. It is a promise to fill, for a moment, the empty parts, to retrieve all of the losses, to find all the empty boxes—a promise that is fulfilled for a moment before collapsing back to square one, leaving her even more distressed and empty.”

In this case study New York psychoanalyst Galit Atlas discusses the importance of female desire for understanding the psychological experience of sexual longing. Sexuality has always been a psychoanalytic concern. While it had a primary role in Freud's revolution, contemporary psychoanalysis has only recently begun to create a framework for addressing it directly in the analytic dyad. Galit Atlas offers us her nuanced original theory to discuss sexuality with frankness and honesty, as she challenges classical psychoanalytic binaries between men and women, attachment and sexuality, preoedipal and the oedipal, innocence and perverse and more. Her central message is that we are unlikely to understand the enigma of erotic longing unless we understand the dialectic tension between the pragmatic attachment to the object and the enigmatic existential aspects.

Since her first book, The Enigma of Desire, Atlas’s writing has been primarily on the topic of sexuality, presenting a relational framework for thinking and working with sexuality and with the erotic in the analytic dyad. That perspective, inspired by her previous publication with Jessica Benjamin on intersubjectivity and the realm of sexuality, includes a focus on mutuality, affective interactions, sharing of affect states and implicit patterns of arousal and regulation.

In her forthcoming book "Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients and The Legacy of Trauma", which will be published next year, Atlas develops some of her ideas on sexuality and introduces thoughts on the trauma and erotic reparation, sexuality, and war trauma, intergenerational transmission of sexual abuse, sexual and emotional intimacy, and the power of analytic love.

Dr. Aner Govrin and Dr. Sharon Ziv-Beiman invite her to a conversation on sexuality, mutuality, love, and psychoanalysis, the years of partnership and creative collaboration with Lew Aron and her forthcoming authored book, "Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients and The Legacy of Trauma", which is dedicated to his memory.

Galit Atlas Ph.D. is on the faculty at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and faculty at the Four Year Adult and National Training Programs at NIP. She is the author of The Enigma of Desire: Sex, Longing and Belonging in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2015) and Dramatic Dialogue: contemporary Clinical Practice (co-authored with Lewis Aron, Routledge, 2017). She is the editor and a contributor to When Minds Meet: The Work of Lewis Aron (Routledge,2020). Her next book, "Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients and The Legacy of Trauma", will be published by Little Brown in Spring, 2021. Atlas serves on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Perspectives and is the author of articles and book chapters that focus primarily on gender and sexuality. Her New York Times article “A tale of Two Twins” was the winner of a 2016 Gradiva award. Atlas is a psychoanalyst and clinical supervisor in private practice in New York City.

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