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P., A. (1982). Freud and Women. Lucy Freeman and Herbert Strean. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1981. Mod. Psychoanal., 7(2):249-250.

(1982). Modern Psychoanalysis, 7(2):249-250

Freud and Women. Lucy Freeman and Herbert Strean. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1981

Review by:
A. P.

This volume discusses Freud's relations with women in his personal and professional life and how they influenced the development of his theory of sexuality.

Freud's mother believed that he was destined for fame and gave him the feeling about himself that fostered greatness. Freeman and Strean suggest that perhaps Freud's competition with his sisters prevented him from acknowledging that if a girl has been the indisputable favorite of her mother, she, too, can keep for life “the confidence of success that induces real success.”

Freud's childhood desire to know all his mother's thoughts and feelings seems to have led him to make the request of his wife that she tell him all of her thoughts and feelings. This same request of his patients would, of course, become a cornerstone of “the talking cure.” However, the authors state, “One of Freud's limitations as a therapist, which emerged particularly in his work with Helene Deutsch, was his reluctance to help patients feel the hatred which they transferred toward him from their parents.”

The authors believe “that the defensive operations he used to protect and preserve his idealized vision of his mother from invasion by his deep hostility toward her left their mark on his theories of psychosexual development and on his notions of womankind. He loved and cherished women, but he also feared them and, at times, showed contempt for them. Thus, his unresolved ambivalence toward women affects several of his psychoanalytic theories of feminity.

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