Turning towards the Erotic…
It is perhaps the erotic that keeps client coming back to therapy; the sense, however tremulous, that something else is possible, the disruption of ‘business as usual’, the hope for connection to something of substance, a reaching for that thing that makes the heart sing with joy. Rarely is this longing explicit, but I believe it underpins what compels many towards therapy and perhaps represents a reach for the last fragile threads of hope in an otherwise despairing world. It is what we most need, and often, of what we are most afraid.
But this longing for the enlivening energy that wakes us from the ordinariness of our lives is a tender and delicate thing. This engagement with the erotic stirs our creativity, calling us into a recognition of what is most important. But it does so against the ordinariness of humanity, our stories of loss, harm and grief and in a world that conflates erotic aliveness with sex, tangling ideas of romantic love with authentic intimacy. Pleasure and sex live exist in a toxic morass of negativity, objectification, attachment, commodification. Added to this are structurally embedded norms that utilise power dynamics that marginalise and oppress. All of these things, combine in complex ways to constrain our reach for the Erotic.
If this is the deeper ground of therapeutic engagement, what supports and resources do we need as therapists to be able to see and respond to these longings with an embodied presence, open heart and clear-sighted knowing? This workshop will address these points as well as arguing that this is needed ground to work effectively not just with Eros, but with sex more generally and the complex dynamics of the therapeutic relationship. We will explore these themes through conversation, personal reflection, and engagement in small group processes.
Dr. Leanne O`Shea