Sexuality and the ‘non-intentional’ implications for psychotherapy practice

Dennis Greenwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines how sexuality and desire provide an opportunity to experience the separation between the self and the other, and were developed in association with the experience of working with a particular patient in weekly therapy. The main theme explored in this article is the degree with which a person imposes his or her understanding and experience onto other people around them, and thereby potentially missing the opportunity to enjoy real personal contact with another person. The work of Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas is examined to highlight the separation between intentionality and nonintentionality. The distinction between the intentional and the nonintentional is also important in illustrating how a person can impose himself or herself on to others. A person's sexuality and desire for intimacy with another person is discussed in terms of how it provides the opportunity to experience the boundary between being for oneself and being in contact with the other; illustrating the separation of the nonintentional from the intentional. Finally, the implications for psychotherapy practice will be examined, particularly acknowledging the importance of a person's sexuality in determining how they relate to other people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-183
Number of pages14
JournalThe Humanistic Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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