1st Edition

The Absent Father Effect on Daughters Father Desire, Father Wounds

By Susan E. Schwartz Copyright 2021
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Winner of the Internationl Association for Jungian Studies (IAJS) Book Award for Best Clinical Book 2021

    The Absent Father Effect on Daughters investigates the impact of absent – physically or emotionally – and inadequate fathers on the lives and psyches of their daughters through the perspective of Jungian analytical psychology. This book tells the stories of daughters who describe the insecurity of self, the splintering and disintegration of the personality, and the silencing of voice.

    Issues of fathers and daughters reach to the intra-psychic depths and archetypal roots, to issues of self and culture, both personal and collective. Susan E. Schwartz illustrates the maladies and disappointments of daughters who lack a father figure and incorporates clinical examples describing how daughters can break out of idealizations, betrayals, abandonments and losses to move towards repair and renewal. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach, expanding and elucidating Jungian concepts through dreams, personal stories, fairy tales and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, along with psychoanalytic theory, including Andre Green’s ‘dead father effect’ and Julia Kristeva’s theories on women and the body as abject.

    Examining daughters both personally and collectively affected by the lack of a father, The Absent Father Effect on Daughters is highly relevant for those wanting to understand the complex dynamics of daughters and fathers to become their authentic selves. It will be essential reading for anyone seeking understanding, analytical and depth psychologists, other therapy professionals, academics and students with Jungian and post-Jungian interests.




    1. The Parallax

    2. Loss and Longing

    3. Father Desire, Father Wounds

    4. Mirroring in the Dead Father Effect

    5. Bad Dad – Negative Father Complex

    6. Father Archetypal Dynamics, Symbols and Images

    7. Who Is She Really? The ‘As-If’ Personality

    8. The Dialogue of Therapy

    9. If He Loves Her, Where Is He?

    10. Idealisation of Father – A Tomb of Illusion

    11. Do You Want to be ‘Daddy’s Girl’?

    12. Behind the Mask and the Glitter – A Narcissistic Response

    13. The Body in Shadow

    14. Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’

    15. Filling the Absence



    Susan E. Schwartz is a Jungian analyst and clinical psychologist in Arizona, USA. As a member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology she has taught and presented at conferences and workshops in the United States and worldwide. She has several articles and book chapters on these aspects of Jungian psychology. Her website is www.susanschwartzphd.com.

    'Truly something new and original on the daughter-father connection. Schwartz explains how and why daughters remain enmeshed with fathers whom, for whatever reason, have been less than good-enough. There is no demonization; rather, an exquisite compassion shines through. Whilst she writes as a clinician – and a really good one, as her account of working with dreams shows – Schwartz offers something that, by definition really, applies to every woman and the majority of men who will read it.' – Andrew Samuels, author of The Plural Psyche: Personality, Morality and the Father and editor of The Father: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives

    'How do you have an incest fantasy about someone who isn’t there; or if they are, they terrify? How do you mourn the loss of someone you never knew, of a relationship you never had? Drawing on her life’s work as a clinician, the author deftly goes to the heart of trauma in the father-daughter relationship: showing how connecting to the archetypal father and collective experience a healing can begin.' – Dale Mathers, Jungian analyst, UK

    'Susan Schwartz has written a much-needed book about fathers and daughters, one that addresses the psychic damage of the "emotionally absent and deadened father", which "affects a daughter’s body, mind and soul". With compassion, wisdom and a Jungian theoretical and clinical understanding of the psyche, Schwartz places this psychological dilemma in a wider context of psychoanalysis and the depth psychologies. Her clinical examples are apt and her passionate encouragement for us to understand this issue is inspiring.' – Margaret Klenck, MDiv, LP, Jungian analyst and past president of the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association, New York, USA