Changing Notions of the Feminine : Confronting Psychoanalysts' Prejudices book cover
1st Edition

Changing Notions of the Feminine
Confronting Psychoanalysts' Prejudices

ISBN 9781138360518
Published December 4, 2018 by Routledge
148 Pages

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Book Description

As culture changes, so do notions of the feminine. Today, women are exploring new gender identities, gender dynamics, and family configurations. They are questioning and redefining what it is to be feminine and expressing different attitudes toward motherhood. These issues have challenged classic psychoanalytic theory and practice.

In this timely collection, a range of prominent psychoanalysts confront and explore their prejudices about changing notions of the feminine, and how it impacts their work. In a period of transition, these issues are present in the clinical material of female patients, and in the material of male patients who struggle in their complementary roles as partners and fathers. But how analysts listen and give meaning to clinical material is significantly affected by the analyst’s own prejudices, her implicit and explicit theories, as well as her subjective view of the world.

Discussing topics such as the expression of power, the compatibility of assertiveness and ambition with the feminine, and the psychoanalytic impact of the spread of new reproductive techniques, this important and far-reaching book will be essential reading for any psychoanalyst or psychotherapist who wishes to engage actively with the sociocultural moment in which they work.

Table of Contents

Series Editor Foreword


Notes on Contributors




Chapter 1: Introduction: Changing Notions of the Feminine: Confronting Analysts’ Prejudices by Margarita Cereijido, PhD.

Chapter 2: From ‘The Child Woman’ to ‘Wonder Woman’: Progress and Misogyny in Psychoanalytic Theory and Clinical Work by Rosemary Balsam, MD.

Chapter 3: Reflections on the Evolving Role of Women as Partners and Mothers from the 1970s to the present by Graciela Abelin-Sas Rose, MD

Chapter 4: When Pain Takes Hold of the Dyad: Culture and the Construction of Compromise in the Female Psyche by Paula Ellman, PhD.

Chapter 5: Be Careful What You Wish For: A Psychoanalyst Reacts to the Liberation of Aggression in Women by Janice Lieberman, PhD. 

Chapter 6: Motherhood and New Reproductive Techniques: An Overview of the Last Twenty-Five Years by Fanny Blanck-Cereijido, MD

Chapter 7: A Psychoanalyst’s Changing Prejudices: Understanding Single Mothers by Choice in the 1980s and Today by Margarita Cereijido, PhD.


Chapter 8: Femininity: Transforming Prejudices in Society and in Psychoanalytic Thought by Nancy R. Goodman, Ph.D.

Chapter 9: Voiceless Heroines: Listening while saturated by theory by Irene Cairo, MD.

Chapter 10: "The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman", Revisited by Julia Braun, MD.

Chapter 11: Gender and Cultural Sensitivity in Practice: A Consultation with a Moroccan Family by Carlos Sluzki, MD.

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Margarita Cereijido is a training and supervising psychoanalyst from the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. She teaches and writes about gender, culture, and prejudice. She organizes the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis' annual Conference on Culture and Psychoanalysis. She is a member of the International Psychoanalytic Institute's Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis (COWAP).


"As analysts, our observations and listening are affected by our ideology. It is our ethical obligation to always monitor our countertransference in order to detect points of our own resistance. The latter obstructs the acceptance of changes, in every sense. The resistance, which supports prejudices about the feminine, is attached to deeply ingrained notions about gender and the desire for motherhood. These prejudices resist new modes of parenting, the radical changes in the notion of filiation brought about by advances in reproductive technology, and the place of women and the feminine in society.

Now, the time has come to rethink the role of the analyst’s prejudices and preconceptions, be it male or female. We can no longer think of the patient or analyst in isolation from each other. Instead, patient and analyst coexist in a culture, which is influenced by each era’s hegemonic codes.

This book is very timely and I would encourage all analysts to read and think about it. It provides impetus for debates that cannot be delayed. It also represents another link in the tireless work that the Committee of Women and Psychoanalysis of the IPA (COWAP) has been doing since 1998." --Virginia Ungar, M.D., IPA President