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Basseches, H.I. Ellman, P. Elmendorf, S. Fritsch, E. Goodman, N. Helm, F. Rockwell, S. (1996). Hearing What Cannot Be Seen: A Psychoanalytic Research Group's Inquiry Into Female Sexuality. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44S(Supplement):511-528.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44S(Supplement):511-528

Hearing What Cannot Be Seen: A Psychoanalytic Research Group's Inquiry Into Female Sexuality

Harriet I. Basseches, Paula Ellman, Susan Elmendorf, Elizabeth Fritsch, Nancy Goodman, Fonya Helm and Shelley Rockwell

Advances in the theoretical understanding of female psychology are not easily integrated into psychoanalytic practice. This paper reports on a study of female psychology and clinical practice by a group of seven female psychoanalysts. Through discussing the literature and case vignettes, we discovered a lag between current theoretical ideas and our clinical practice. The group identified an anachronistic emphasis on penis envy functioning as “bedrock.” This report addresses how the group facilitated individual members' integration of theory and practice, and how this integration affected work with patients. We found that as we became open to considering a wider range of potential dynamic meanings of penis envy and female bodily concerns, we were able to explore a richer, and often surprising unfolding of vicissitudes. The discussion highlights some technical issues with this approach.

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