APsaA Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award Announced

Dropped on:October 22, 2012
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The Committee on Gender and Sexuality of the American Psychoanalytic Association today named the winner of the Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award for 2013, ***The Historical Moment in the Analysis of Gay Men,*** by Bertram J. Cohler and Robert M. Galatzer-Levy. The paper was selected as an original and creative contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The award carries a cash prize of $500 and Robert Galatzer-Levy will be presenting the paper at the National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.

The profound thesis of this paper is that ***a lack of appreciation of the changing meanings of same sex desire over periods as short as a decade affected the analyses and therapies of men who desire sex with other men.*** The authors show how social, historical experience affects how analysts perceive analytic and psychotherapeutic data, including their own. They persuasively show analysts*** vulnerability to blind spots when the analyst***s historical cohort is different than the patient***s.

The authors write: ***it appears to us that there is a common failure to appreciate the extent to which analysts knowing attitudes about normality and pathology, i.e., about desirable life narratives, imposes itself on analysands, particularly those analysands whose sexual life ways are in some way atypical. It is particularly sad that certain positions of these impositions occur not merely outside analyst***s awareness, but that they also are often supported and to some extent originate in analytic attempts to better understand men with same sex desire through elaborations of theories about them as a group.*** The authors then set out to show how various master narratives differ between analysts/therapists from different historical cohorts from the patient and how these differences can skew how each party understands the other.

Although unmistakably informed by both postmodernism and psychoanalysis, the authors integrate, in a way that any queer or straight analyst or therapist can understand, how various implicit and explicit assumptions about the life narratives of gay men interfere with treatment.

The Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award was established in 1998 to honor the founding Chairperson of the American Psychoanalytic Association***s Committee on Issues of Homosexuality, now the Committee on Gender and Sexuality. In the years that it is awarded, the Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award is given to an unpublished manuscript that makes an original and outstanding contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding and/or treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.

Committee on Gender and Sexuality

Susan McNamara, MD

Patrick Haggard, MD

Ethan Grumbach, PhD
Co-chair, ex officio

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