Sandor Rado Lecture

May 2, 2017
Analytic Thirds in Clinical Psychoanalysis
Nancy Kulish, PhD

The author examines the different notions of thirdness in the psychoanalytic literature and attempts to compare them with, and to differentiate them from, triangular “oedipal” transferences. She focuses upon the conceptualizations of analytic thirds and triangular spaces in the work of Ogden, Benjamin, and Britton as illustrations of how these concepts are used clinically. She presents a case in which the patient concretely constructed a third by drawing a real person – another analyst – into the dyad. In the highly charged drama that ensued, issues of bisexuality, gender identity and erotic fantasies toward both sexes were explored. She offers criteria that characterize oedipal or “persephonal” transferences and counter-transferences and describes interferences from both patient and analyst to working them through.

Dr. Kulish is a training and supervising analyst and past president of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. She has published extensively on female sexuality and development, gender, and psychoanalytic process and technique. Dr. Kulish was named the National Psychoanalytic Woman’s Scholar by the American Psychoanalytic Association in 2006.

Learning Objectives: After the lecture, the participant will be able to

  • Compare contemporary theories of the analytic third.
  • Distinguish oedipal/triangular transferences from concepts of the analytic third.
  • Discuss factors in the analyst or patient that may interfere with understanding and working out triangular/oedipal transferences.