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Virginia Goldner

Virginia Goldner

PH.D.

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33
Publications
25,490
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1,694
Citations

Publications

Publications (33)
Article
Full-text available
Rape “jokes” are disturbing. We almost laugh, we cringe, some of us tear up. This essay deconstructs the psychic action of such material and the way an audience (or community) can find themselves reluctantly identifying with the affable, loquacious sociopath (think Bill Cosby). His victims become nothing more than roadkill, no match for the clever...
Article
Muriel Dimen was singular—but also multiple. A brave risk taker, wearing her vulnerability. A mentor showing her uncertainty. She created a hybrid form of written address in which the formal and the colloquial, the public and the intimate, the erotic and the traumatic, the put-together and the broken-up shared the stage, speaking not as one but as...
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Full-text available
“Bill and Jane,” a couple I saw many years ago, are placeholders for all the anguished, angry, exhausting, and poignant partners who have made their mark on my work as a clinician and theorist. They inspired and defeated me in equal measure, and they ground this essay, which attempts to bring together many of the theories I have fallen in love with...
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This response first addresses the interimplication of attachment and recognition in couples work and reargues that disorganized attachment is the central dynamic underlying the emotional torment of failing relationships. In the second section, the author expands upon the secondary trauma that haunts the therapist who is trying to hold and contain t...
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This issue of Psychoanalytic Dialogues takes up transgender subjectivities in all of their dimensionality and complications. The papers grapple with the theoretical paradox of trans, how it both queers gender and ratifies it, while also documenting the struggles of trans persons who are trying to navigate those contradictions so as to lead a livabl...
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Transgender subjectivities are paradoxical in that they both undermine the gender binary and ratify it. The contradictions inherent in trans require that we consider trans as more of a process than a thing in itself, a gerund, rather than a noun or adjective, a continuous work in progress, rather than a static fact of the self. But despite cultural...
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Stephen Mitchell (1997) wrote that “Psychoanalysis and the Degradation of Romance,” the paper on which the book Can Love Last was based, provoked the most feedback, both intellectual and personal, of anything he had ever written. These reverberations have continued, unabated by his passing. One of the many responses to his work in this area took th...
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This commentary focuses on how psychoanalysts may theorize the therapeutic action of reading and hearing poetry. It is argued that poetic action is a densely layered one- and two-person process that achieves its psychological effects by potentiating the mental space that is “thirdness,” in Jessica Benjamin's (2004) lexicon. Beginning with ideas abo...
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This paper describes an integrative approach for treating couples in abusive relationships. Because of the power inequities that often obtain in such cases, the therapist faces special challenges. Both partners must be defined as clients, yet the two are not on equal footing. Sustaining moral clarity in a context of such psychological ambiguity is...
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In Can Love Last, Stephen Mitchell deconstructed the resistances— personal, metapsychological, and cultural—to sustaining vibrant and intimate sexual relationships over the long haul. This discussion is concerned with the way in which Mitchell’s emphasis on risk shortchanged the importance of safety in long-term romantic passion. By showing how sec...
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Can Love Last? The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2002, 224 pp.)In Can Love Last, Stephen Mitchell deconstructed the resistances—personal, metapsychological, and cultural—to sustaining vibrant and intimate sexual relationships over the long haul. This discussion is concerned with the way in which Mitche...
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Feminism and the postmodern turn have vaporized the commonsense materiality of gender and sexuality, both in theory and, for many, as lived experience. But where gender has moved to the ironic, sexuality still holds the space for the “authentic.” Gender now seems squarely positioned in a postmodern sensibility, but sexuality still veers between the...
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In its psychic action, the writing and revelation of Janine de Peyer's essay create a parallel process for the reader that must reflect the uncertain pleasures and unsettling demands of the case itself. By taking us into the intimate vortex of therapeutic work with this sexually aggressive and traumatized patient, the author is challenged to write...
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This essay presents an analysis of violence in intimate life that draws on multiple theoretical perspectives. These include but are not limited to feminist theory, object relations theory, systems theory, narrative and social constructionist theory, and neurobiology. It is argued that it is possible to be effective in ending violence and abuse thro...
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It is argued that the intellectual and cultural developments of post-modernism have disrupted the foundational theories of both feminist and systematic practice. As a result, these two critical traditions no longer stand in abstract opposition to one another, and can be better understood as compatible discourses in a stage of turmoil and transition...
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This paper will present an analysis of the dynamics of sexual excitement in heterosexual relationships, including the connection between sexuality and gender. It will also document how passion can become the location for the struggle for power between men and women. These ideas will be illustrated via a single case, which will include discussion of...
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This article analyzes and critiques the construct of gender as a psychoanalytic and cultural category. Without succumbing to a nonpsychoanalytic notion of androgyny, the argument developed here challenges the assumption that an internally consistent gender identity is possible or even desirable. Beginning with the idea that, from an analytic perspe...
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This article presents a multidimensional, theoretical model for the understanding of relationships in which men are violent toward women. It argues that abusive relationships exemplify, in extremis, the stereotypical gender arrangements that structure intimacy between men and women generally. Moreover, it proposes that paradoxical gender injunction...
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This essay argues that gender is an irreducible category of clinical observation and theorizing, as crucial to the family therapy paradigm as the concept of "generation." Gender, therefore, is not a secondary, mediating variable like race, class, or ethnicity, but, rather, a fundamental, organizing principle of all family systems. The author analyz...
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Discusses the way discourse in family therapy has systematically obscured crucial differences in the relative burdens and benefits of family life as functions of whether one is male or female. Questioned is the presumption that family problems are clinical problems and that clinical problems are technical problems and therefore solvable. Family the...
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Full-text available
Feminism has had a profound effect on contemporary culture and on thinking in most academic fields, including psychoanalysis. Interestingly, until very recently it had made virtually no impact on the theory and practice of family therapy. This paper proposes an explanation for this peculiar phenomenon and argues that family therapy has been conside...
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Argues that framing feminist issues in terms of constructs (e.g., gender roles) serves to trivialize the feminist critique of society and the family. Seeing domestic strife between men and women as a problem of arbitrarily rigid roles fits the potentially subversive critique of feminism into old categories. Feminists argue that if gender is to be u...

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