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The Role of Fantasy in the Treatment of Sexual Deviation

Gene G. Abel, MD; Edward B. Blanchard, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(4):467-475. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760100035007.
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Sexual fantasy plays a critical role in the treatment of sexual deviations from both the psychoanalytic and behavioral viewpoints. Both orientations can be interpreted as successively conceptualizing sexual fantasy first as a dependent and then as an intervening variable Most recently the behaviorally oriented therapists have reported successful treatment based on the assumption that sexual fantasy can be used as an independent variable to be directly altered by the therapist.

These latter studies are reviewed in considerable detail in hopes of incorporating their findings into the general body of psychiatric knowledge.

It is suggested that such "crossfertilization" between psychoanalytic and behavioral therapists may prevent unnecessary duplication of investigation, advance the state of our knowledge more rapidly, and demonstrate that there may be more similarities in the two views than had been suspected previously.

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