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Title: The construction and expression of a gendered mind and body : contributions of a psychoanalytic approach
Author: Orbach, Susie
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1998
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Post World War II developments in psychoanalytic theory and practice have subsumed discussion about the body, the corporeal to a somatic. Bodily experiences, physical symptoms ranging from eczema to vaginismus to anorexia are seen as manifestations of psychic disturbances: the body acting as the recipient of intra-psychic conflict. This thesis proposes that psychological and physical development are more inter-related with neither the body serving the psyche or the psyche serving the body. To state that there is a relationship between somatic and psychic development is not however to conflate the two. In patients with disturbed body image or with a propensity to physical symptoms with no perceivable organic basis, an examination of the emotional ambience surrounding the physical 'dwelling in' development of the self yields interesting and clinically useful material. This thesis argues that the physical development of girls needs to be problematised much as gender conscious psychoanalysis has problematised the psychic development of girls and the construction of femininity. It looks at the importance of the maternal body image and the unconscious transmission of body insecurity from mother to daughter as well as the purposeful messages a mother passes on to a daughter about her body. It sets the necessarily ambivalent and pained ambience around the body between mothers and daughters in the context of the particular social milieu of late twentieth Western culture. The method of inquiry has been an in depth study of the physical aspects of the transference countertransference. An examination of the subjective physical states aroused in the psychotherapist in the countertransference yields extends the understanding both of body disturbances, their derivation and tenacity as well as makes links between physical and psychic development without collapsing one into the other with important clinical implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available