PSPP 2017 Fall Program #1: Riding the Wave of Erotic Transference and Countertransference: The Ethics Around Erotic Revelations

  • 16 Sep 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 12:40 PM
  • Haverford College: Great Hall located in Founders Hall - 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041
  • 0


  • Members within 7 years of attaining terminal degree.

Registration is closed

Riding the Wave of Erotic Transference and Countertransference:

The Ethics Around Erotic Revelations

Andrea Celenza, PhD

Sarah White, PsyD

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Registration 9:00 a.m., program starts at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 12:40 p.m.

Venue: Haverford College

Great Hall located in Founders Hall

3 Ethics CE Credits


Forms of erotic transference, of whatever shape, often make it into our therapies, whether we realize it or not.  However, our theories have become desexualized to an extent that fails to prepare clinicians with the necessary armamentarium to address in an ethical manner the level of desire and erotic material likely to emerge. This presentation aims to fill the gap in our clinical literature, especially in terms of the navigation of boundaries in ethically sound ways, via didactic instruction and live supervision over an erotically-charged case.  

Open discussion about erotic transferences in all of their manifestations will be encouraged, especially with regard to the vicissitudes of aggression, merger fantasies, sadomasochistic dynamics, and issues of self-disclosure. In particular, Dr. Celenza will discuss the varieties and meanings of the therapist’s countertransference over the course of psychotherapy so that ethically informed technique may be maintained across the full range of erotic transferences. 

Following a didactic presentation by Dr. Celenza, Dr. White will describe the therapeutic process with a patient in which erotic transference and countertransference was at play.  She will describe in chronological detail how the erotic material impacted her, including experiences of anxiety, dread, anger, arousal, and fear of being exposed as “bad” as she faced these unknown, and sometimes agonizing, questions:  When should we refrain from curiosity/exploration?  When does a drawing-out of erotic material cross the line from therapeutically explorative to seductive?  When is it okay to let the transference and countertransference swell in the room without overly attending to it?  What waves are better left to build and pass on their own?  What is the use and danger of disclosure on the part of the therapist? 

Following the case presentation, Dr. Celenza will then conduct a live supervision with Dr. White over these particular, and confounding, dilemmas. 

Andrea Celenza, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Faculty at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Celenza has consulted with, evaluated, supervised or treated over 250 cases of therapist-patient sexual boundary transgressions and has written and presented extensively on the evaluation and treatment of therapists who have engaged in sexual misconduct with a focus on training and supervisory issues.  Dr. Celenza is Co-Director of a blended, online program in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy sponsored by William James College and has published two groundbreaking books on sexual issues 
in psychoanalysis: Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory and Academic Contexts (2007) and Erotic Revelations: Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios (2014). She has been the recipient of several awards, including the Karl A. Menninger Memorial Award, the Felix & Helena Deutsch Prize and the Symonds Prize. Dr. Celenza is currently in private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Sarah White, Psy.D. is an early career psychologist in private practice in New Jersey where she works with adolescents, adults, couples, and families.  She earned her degree from Chestnut Hill College and completed her post-doc at Haverford College’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center.  She serves as the Membership Chair of PSPP.


At the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to:

1.  List three reasons clinicians find it difficult to address erotic transference/countertransference.

2.  Explain three supervisory principles that will facilitate open discussion around erotic material in order to guide ethical practice with patients.

3.  Describe two risks that arise in the presence of erotic transference/countertransference, and two risks of not working through such material in supervisory or consultation contexts.


1.  Pope, K.S., Levenson, H., & Schover, L.R.  (1979). Sexual intimacy in psychology training: Results and implications of a national survey.  American Psychologist, 34(8), 682-689.  doi: 

2.  Fonagy, P. (2008). A genuinely developmental theory of sexual enjoyment and its implications for psychoanalytic technique. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(1), 11-36. doi: 10.1177/0003065107313025

3.  Celenza, A. (2014). Erotic Revelations: Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios. London: Routledge.

4.  Davies, J.M. (1994). Love in the afternoon: A relational reconsideration of desire and dread in the countertransference.  Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(2), 153-170.  doi: 

5. Celenza, A.  (2007).  Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Academic, and Supervisory Contexts.  New York, NY: Jason Aronson.

6.  Luepker, E.T. (1999). Effects of practitioners’ sexual misconduct: A follow-up study.  Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry & Law, 27:51-63.


Fees cover the cost of three continuing education credits, breakfast, light refreshments and coffee

Prior to 9/1/17 / After 9/1/17:

PSPP Members: $65 / $75

Non-Member Professionals: $75 / $85

Early Career Professionals*: $30 / $40

Retired Professionals: $30 / $40

Graduate Students: $10 / $15

*Early career professionals are those within seven years of receiving their professional degree.

Fees listed per person.  Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible.  Refunds requested prior to 9/16/17 paid in full, less a $25 administrative fee.


Online registration will be available at the PSPP website through 9/15/17. Following this date, participants may register for the program at the door.

Registration by mail is available by contacting: Dr. Sarah White, PSPP Membership Chair: 3804 Church Road, Mount Laurel, NJ 08504  

This program is intended for mental health professionals with an intermediate level of knowledge and experience it is not limited to individuals practicing in a psychoanalytic mode.


Haverford College at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041 - The Great Hall is located in Founders Hall (building 10 on the campus map below)

Haverford college is easily accessible by car, train and taxi. From center city, take I-76W to exit 337 (Hollow Rd). Then continue on Hollow Rd to PA-23 West Conshohocken State Road to Mill Creek Road. Take this to Woodside Road to Walton Lane in Haverford. Directions to Haverford can also be accessed through their website.

Once at Haverford, the presentation is in the Bryn Mawr Room, which is located in the dining center. The dining center is at the top of the campus (see link to map below). 

Parking is available along College Road just north of the dining center and also in the visitors parking lot, which is on the south part of campus (leave an extra 10 minutes to walk up to the dining center).  Parking spaces reserved for faculty and staff are open to visitors on weekends.

Campus map that includes buildings and parking lots


Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological  Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 

PSYCHOLOGISTS: This program, when attended in its entirety, is offered for 3 ETHICS (CEUs) continuing education credits. Participants must attend 100% of the program. Upon completion of a conference evaluation form, a certificate will be issued. This serves as documentation of attendance for all participants.  Psychologists will have their participation registered through Division 39. Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological  Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for the program and its content. 

SOCIAL WORKERS AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS: Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors in PA can receive CEs from CE providers approved by the APA. Since Div 39 is approved by the APA to sponsor continuing education, those professionals will be able to fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending PSPP/Div 39 approved programs.

EDUCATORS: Act 48 credits are available to participants who hold an educational certificate in PA. IF you need act 48 credits please be sure to bring your PPID number to the conference. Act 48 credits are processed by PSPP, and you will receive a letter in the mail documenting that you have earned 3 Act 48 credits a few weeks after the conference.


PSPP and Division 39 are committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in continuing education activities and strive to conduct all activities in strict conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. 

Participants with special needs will be accommodated as possible. If you believe that a violation of ethics has occurred during this presentation, or if you have concerns about such issues as accessibility for persons with disabilities, distress with regard to program content or other complaints, please contact Kelly Bassett, LP, MEd at 646-510-1593 or e-mail There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflict of interest. During the program, the presenter will discuss the validity/utility of the content/approach as well as the limitations of the approach and most common risk factors, if any.

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