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Bassin, D. (1982). Woman's Images of Inner Space: Data Towards Expanded Interpretive Categories. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:191-203.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:191-203

Woman's Images of Inner Space: Data Towards Expanded Interpretive Categories

Donna Bassin

SUMMARY

An examination into women's art, specifically naive and unstylized poetry led the author to question the motivational factors for the pervasive inner space and central core imagery. These images and metaphors in women's poetry seem to illuminate the existence of a bodily schema for productive inner space which goes beyond maternal/reproductive functions.

It is hypothesized that women's early experiences of inner space seem to contribute to the construction of a category of experience, like phallic activity and its representations, which serve as structures of knowing and creating the world. It is suggested that these symbolic images are connected with biological origins and provide a base for a mode of cognition that is available to women through appropriate analytic and environmental stimulation.

It is suggested by the author that the potential for increased female development lay latent under the limited interpretive categories for women's affective/cognitive experiences such as castration anxiety and penis envy. In other words, a proactive manifestation of women's psychobiological development is needed rather than only the reactive orthodox view of female development as a series of compensations for being not-male. Psychoanalysts need to become more sensitive to images of inner space in female analysands' productions. This empathic acknowledgement of self-representations can provide the trigger for moving these representations into more conscious verbal thought. These expanded interpretive categories, which must draw on women's own composition for their foundation, will allow and encourage the development of a more concrete and detailed schematization of the representations of women's interiority and not her inferiority.

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