Passion! The word brims with and exudes power, movement, intensity, vitality, desire, and fulfillment. Its multifaceted meanings include eroticism, rage, sex, suffering, drive, commitment, dedication, and love. On the one hand, it embodies a quality to be embraced and lived fully, to make life meaningful and worthwhile. On the other, it is sometimes to be treated with suspicion, reined in, subjected to the dictates of reason. While it brightens existence and its departure makes life dull, many passions may prove unbearable. 

The manifold connotations of passion make it highly relevant to psychoanalysis, yet, so far, no book has explored the many facets of this pervasive theme. This book provides a comprehensive guide that will sensitize readers to the omnipresent importance of passionate emotion in the clinical setting, and throughout all areas and times of life. It bursts with thought-provoking ideas. Challenging cases are illuminated by penetrating reflections and novel applications and combinations of theoretical perspectives.

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Passion explores the many ways in which very strong emotions – passions – can be understood and worked with in clinical contexts. The contributions cover such key topics as psychosis and violence, emotions in childhood, sexuality, secure and insecure attachments, the role of passion in seeking meaning, passion and transition space, and transference and countertransference.

This book will be of great help to all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists struggling to assist patients (and perhaps themselves) in locating their passions, channeling and expressing them in meaningful ways, and overcoming obstacles to their fulfillment.

chapter |5 pages


Passion: fire within

part I|27 pages

Dangerous liaisons

chapter 1|18 pages

The pole dancer

Dancing on the edge of boundary violations

chapter 2|7 pages

I love you to death

part II|51 pages

Sexuality and attachment security

chapter 3|20 pages

What do I really want?

Passion and attachment

chapter 4|8 pages

What’s love got to do with it?

Sexual passion and attachment in psychoanalysis

chapter 5|8 pages

Seduced and abandoned

Attachment theory, dissociated passion and the mutative impact of the analyst’s maternal embrace

chapter 6|13 pages

Lessons in romance from middle-aged men who have had affairs

The link between security and sexuality

part III|21 pages

Seeking meaning, individuation, and fulfillment

chapter 7|6 pages

Moments of passion

chapter 8|6 pages

The marriage of intimacy and meaning

A psychoanalytic-meditative approach to passions and feelings

chapter 9|7 pages

Mother-daughter love

A passionate attachment gone awry

part IV|23 pages

Passions in childhood

chapter 11|16 pages

Passion for pink

Colorfully contemplating transgender identity

part V|50 pages

Overcoming obstacles to passion

chapter 12|10 pages

Passion precluded

Irrelationship and the costs of co-created psychological defenses

chapter 13|10 pages

On states of resignation and retreat

Musings on passion, com-passion, and being

chapter 14|8 pages


The murder of passion

chapter 15|8 pages


Wanted dead or alive

chapter 16|12 pages

Passion past in the present

Dyadic Traumatic Reenactment in psychoanalytically informed couple therapy with trauma survivors

part VI|34 pages

Using transitional space, dreams, and groups to release passion

chapter 17|10 pages

Lars and the Real Girl

Play and passion in the birth of the self

chapter 18|8 pages

Passion (or past-shunned)

The use of fantasy to re-create past loving and sexual self-experiences in the present

chapter 19|7 pages

Passionate links

Clinical notes on containing trauma and reawakening hope from despair

part VII|26 pages

Passion for psychoanalysis

chapter 23|5 pages

Fire in the belly

Can love for psychoanalysis last? 1

chapter |4 pages


Pursuing and containing passion