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Birksted-Breen, D. (1996). Phallus, Penis And Mental Space. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:649-657.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:649-657

Phallus, Penis And Mental Space

Dana Birksted-Breen

In this paper the author suggests that it is insufficient simply to make a distinction, as Laplanche & Pontalis do, between penis to denote the male organ in its bodily reality and phallus to describe the symbolic aspect. She suggests that there is an important symbolic function for which the word phallus is not appropriate and which she calls penis-as-link. She suggests that it is the introjection of the penis-as-link which has a structuring function and promotes mental space and thinking, in that it recognises the full oedipal situation including the parental relationship (and mental bisexuality). With clinical material she shows that the lack of internalisation of the penis-as-link leads to the search for the phallus as a fantasy and she illustrates the relationship between the internalisation of the penis-as-link and mental space and thinking.

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