Introduction

 

This paper is a development of one of the topics of my book Desire and the Female Therapist. I will discuss one very specific dynamic of the transference and countertransference which I have observed with male patients working with female therapists. In considering why it is that certain men, working with female therapists, end their psychotherapy 'prematurely', I have noticed a pattern. This is reflected in the subtitle I give to this paper which is 'men who leave too soon.' However I stress the point that this is addressed to male as well as female colleagues. Whilst there are common factors which transcend gender difference, I consider that giving attention to this pairing may highlight particular countertransference problems encountered by the female therapist and the difficulties some male patients experience in the transference. I hope that the paper will generate thoughts about other clinical experiences with regard to gender which we can discuss in the second part of this morning.

 

 

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