1st Edition

Psychoanalysis and Maternal Absence From the Traumatic to Faith and Trust

By Ofrit Shapira-Berman Copyright 2022
    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    164 Pages
    by Routledge

    Experience of maternal absence manifests in a variety of ways and this book explores a selection of its emotional, psychical, and somatic consequences as they relate to an individual’s relationship with their body, psychic-emotional internal life, and intimate relationships.

    This book is not about mothers, but how individuals handle the trauma of mothers they have not had. Spanning backgrounds such as the collective child-rearing method of the kibbutz in Israel through to the possible difficulties of children who are parented by single parents, born out of sperm or egg donation, and adults who have suffered chronic sexual abuse, Shapira-Berman observes the precarious position of the analyst and the tension between the acts of witnessing and participating in client interventions. Espousing the values of authenticity and creativity, this text concludes with a reconfiguration of the roles of faith and trust within psychoanalysis and offers hope to those on their therapeutic journeys.

    This book will be a valuable resource for psychotherapists, as well as for various undergraduate and postgraduate studies in object relations, childhood trauma, sexual trauma and clinical therapy.

    1. Introduction  2. A 'Mother-of-One's-Own' - An Analytic View of Object-Relationships in Adult Patients Raised in the Kibbutz  3. 'Love Thy Work': From Having No Mother to Being Everybody's Mother - Re-Examining the Professional Choice of Women Psychotherapists Who Grew Up in the Kibbutz  4. That Which Was Not - Some Thoughts Regarding Oedipus's Modern Conflicts  5. The 'Choice' between Illusory Life and Acceptance of the Death of One's Love Object  6. Psychosomatic Symptoms as Physical Dreams: Emotional Experiences given Expression through the Body  7. When Hunger Strikes - Re-thinking Kafka's 'A Hunger Artist' in light of Winnicott's Theory of the Psyche-Soma  8. What do Faith and Trust have to do with Psychoanalysis?


    Ofrit Shapira-Berman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and a professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and a member of the Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She maintains a private practice in Tel Aviv.

    'Ofrit Shapira-Berman’s book brings together two fundamental subjects that preoccupy psychoanalysis: Motherhood and faith; or, taken from the other side of it, motherly-absence and trauma. With a unique and lively voice, and with a wealth of experience and knowledge in trauma, Berman portrays the phenomena of the absent mother from an intriguing variety of perspectives – sociological, psychosomatic and literary – all met by a bold, fresh and original psychoanalytic eye. The reader is not only moved by the stories and enriched by their insights, she is also gaining hope and trust in the ability to understand and repair deep wounds. The clinical evidence and the theoretical elaborations reflect deep faith in psychoanalysis; in the profound reparatory power embedded in being with someone who is willing to be present.'

    Merav Roth, Head of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel

    'This is a beautifully written exploration of the nature of maternal care and its effects on the very experience of being human. The book offers insightful clinical discussions of some of the most fundamental qualities of human life: the complementarity of the roles of faith and trust, and of witnessing and participating; the place of dreaming in the communication of psyche and soma; and ways analysis may provide a form of experiencing in which formerly unlived aspects of the self are reappropriated. This is a remarkable book not to be missed. I cannot recommend it more highly.'

    Thomas Ogden, Personal and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, USA