"I can be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a woman without having periods." This book explores two of the oldest and most important symbols of all time: menstruation and secondary amenorrhea. Women of menstruating age commonly experience secondary amenorrhea – a cessation of periods – but most people have never heard of the term, nor do they realise what it represents. Danielle Redland’s curiosity as to why this is posits that menstrual conditions need to be decoded, not just simply treated.
Surveying menstruation and Secondary Amenorrhea (SA) principally from a psychoanalytic perspective, with sociocultural, historical, political and religious angles also examined, Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women, Menstruation and Secondary Amenorrhea draws secondary amenorrhea out of the shadows of its menstruating counterpart, and explores how narratives of womanhood and statehood dominate. Chapters on blood ideology and war amenorrhea, on Freud’s treatment of Emma Eckstein and on the psycho-mythology of Pygmalion, present the reader with visions beyond patriarchy towards more thoughtful ideas on the feminine, challenging assumptions about gender, identity and what is deemed "good" for women. Rich in clinical examples, the book locates menses and their cessation at the heart of personal experience and examines psychosomatic phenomena, the link between psyche and body and the value of interpretation. From the author’s own analysis to a variety of cases linked to hysteria, anorexia, stress, trauma, abuse, helplessness and hopelessness, individual stories and narratives are sensitively recovered and carefully revealed.
This refreshing example of multi-layered research and psychoanalytic enquiry by a new, female writer will be of great interest to psychologists, psychotherapists, healthcare and social work professionals and readers of gender studies, history, politics and literature.
Table of Contents
1. CURRENCIES OF BLOOD AND LAWS OF THE LAND 2. NAZI BLOOD IDEOLOGY, THE MENSTRUATING WOMAN AND WAR AMENORRHEA 3. A FAR CRY FROM A NO THING: COMMENTARIES ON SECONDARY AMENORRHEA 4. THE BODY BOUNDARY, THE EGO BOUNDARY, NON-MENSES AND PATTERNS OF RELATING IN ANOREXIA AND EATING DISORDERS 5. METAMORPHOSIS – THE STORY OF PYGMALION AND THE PROCESS OF CHANGE IN THE PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TREATMENT OF SECONDARY AMENORRHEA 6. A BLOODY AFFAIR: THE CASE OF EMMA ECKSTEIN AND FREUD’S IRMA DREAM 7. VIEWING A FEMALE CONDITION THROUGH A PSYCHOANALYTIC (MALE?) LENS
Danielle Redland was awarded her PhD from the psychoanalytic studies department at Goldsmiths University of London in 2018. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice and as an assessor and intake counsellor in the charitable sector, as well as being clinical manager of a counselling referral service. Born and raised in Manchester, she now lives in London with her family.
"An extraordinarily compelling panorama of this still-taboo subject, with an original and innovative focus on secondary amenorrhea. Redland ranges from the social, cultural, historical and psychological role of blood in human experience to Freud’s shameful encounter with it in the case of Emma Eckstein. The writing is scholarly and sensitive, and the book will find a warm reception on women’s studies as well as psychoanalytic studies. As one who examined the work when it was still a PhD thesis, I can confirm that the transition to book form has been achieved to a superb degree."
Andrew Samuels, Former Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex
"What does it mean when a woman of menstruating age stops bleeding and what does it matter to her or to us? Working through anthropology, myth and literature, Danielle Redland links the cessation of menses to unconscious registers suggesting that there is a communication of the psyche that looks to the body to find expression; she shows how these themes recur not only in cultural and historical narratives world-wide but also in examples she gives from the consulting room.
In this highly original and important text, Redland offers a psychoanalytic perspective on Ovid's Metamorphosis and George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion while also examining the role of the male practitioner – analyst, doctor or both – in a study of Freud's failed treatment of Emma Eckstein. In a brand-new take on the dynamic between body and mind, Danielle Redland presses the question: is such an opposition still viable? The result is a ground-breaking analysis of what this means for women, symptoms and psychoanalysis itself."
Christopher Hauke, Jungian analyst, Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. Author of Jung and the Postmodern:The Interpretation of Realities