Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To print an article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To print an article, click on the small Printer Icon located at the top right corner of the page, or by pressing Ctrl + P. Remember, PEP-Web content is copyright.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Taylor, G.J. (2016). Varieties of Castration Experience: Relevance to Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Psychodyn. Psych., 44(1):39-67.

(2016). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 44(1):39-67

Varieties of Castration Experience: Relevance to Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Graeme J. Taylor, M.D.

Although Freud considered castration to be one of the two major anxieties of human life, the castration complex has been relatively neglected in contemporary psychoanalytic writing and is insufficiently discussed in presentations of clinical cases. This article discusses the relevance of the concept to contemporary psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy, in particular the important contributing role of castration conflicts in the pathogenesis of a wide range of clinical symptoms. The author begins by briefly reviewing some classical and contemporary psychoanalytic ideas about castration to show how the concept has broadened and is currently used not only to signify fear of damage to or loss of the genital, but also metaphorically to indicate a threat to or loss of any valued human characteristic or function. He outlines Brenner's distinction between castration anxiety and castration depression, and reviews the role of childhood trauma in intensifying castration conflicts. He then illustrates the clinical application of these ideas by describing aspects of his psychotherapeutic work with three male patients who presented with a variety of symptoms and distressing psychological experiences that were gradually resolved through the analysis of underlying castration anxiety and/or castration depression. Although castration anxiety is frequently intermingled with separation anxiety, the author concludes that with many traumatized patients castration conflicts are in the foreground and the therapist needs to focus on the patient's proneness to humiliation, powerlessness, and shame.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.