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Seidenberg, R. (1991). Psychoanalysis and Femininity, Part III. Psychoanal. Psychol., 8(3):343-362.

(1991). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 8(3):343-362

Psychoanalysis and Femininity, Part III

Review by:
Robert Seidenberg, M.D.

Women and Depression: A Lifespan Perspective, edited by Ruth Formanek and Anita Gurian. New York: Springer, 1988, 306 pp., $31.95.

Women and Depression: A Lifespan Perspective, an anthology by Ruth Formanek and Anita Gurian, is a string of cultured pearls. The editors have gathered a group of women and men, generally of outstanding training and experience, who have in turn captured with great sensitivity the vicissitudes of women's experiences over the life span. Risking cliché, we see women as human beings here, not vessels of chromosomes, chemicals, or hormones. There are few mentions of tranquilizers or antidepressants. In the same vein, no simple-minded remedies or holistic quick fixes are offered. Instead, women are afforded the dignity of feeling and behaving appropriately to personal and social adversities. The tone for this is set and set straight by Formanek and Gurian in their introductory remarks:

Aristotle, alluding to cyclothymic disorders, believed that black bile, which is cold by nature, can produce paralysis, depression or anxiety states. However, … suspicion of a relationship between depression and physiological functioning continues in present-day psychiatry, although gall, bile, and slime have now been ruled out in favor of neurotransmitters [italics added]. (p.

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