chapter  16
24 Pages

The Leather Princess: Sadomasochism as the Rescripting of Trauma Scenarios: Doris Brothers

While most of Heinz Kohut's contributions to psychoanalytic theory and technique have gained increasing recognition and acclaim since his untimely death in 1981, his insights about sadomasochism remain relatively unheralded. Kohut's prominence was secured, in large part, through his bold efforts to replace Freud's outdated drive-theory formulations with a psychology of self-experience far more congruent with contemporary thought. It is noteworthy, therefore, that his understanding of sadomasochistic fantasies and their behavioral enactment retraces Freud's earliest steps in theory building to a time when psychoanalysis was guided by a trauma paradigm {Cohen, 1980, 1981). Although a number of investigators {e.g., Menaker, 1953; Stoller, 1975, 1979; Schad-Somers, 1982) produced convincing evidence that Freud's first efforts to explain sadomasochism were on the right track, Kohut's discoveries about selfobject experience pointed the way toward a deeper, more experience-near, and clinically meaningful understanding of the relationship between sadomasochism and trauma.