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Mitchell, J. (1995). Introduction. Brit. J. Psychother., 12(1):73-77.

(1995). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 12(1):73-77

Psychoanalysis and Feminism: 20 Years on


Juliet Mitchell

I don't know what we represent on the panel, except long friendship and interests, both on the theoretical side of psychoanalysis and in its clinical practice, and by now a long history of feminism together. Though we have been out of touch on and off as individuals during the last 20 years we all feel very pleased to remeet. But the panel is not just based on friendship; we thought that in some ways we represent the different ways in which people have taken an interest in psychoanalysis and feminism in the last 20 years. So that where my book was really exclusively relating to issues of patriarchy and heterosexuality, Joanna Ryan has taken it into the diversity of women/women relationships. Margot Waddell has from the beginning been involved in working with children and adolescents, and women and children, and women and adolescents, and girls becoming women and feminism in relation to that. Joan Raphael-Leff has worked with issues of reproduction and motherhood; so that we all felt we opened up four of the different ways psychoanalysis has been taken.

To begin I thought I would do a rough synopsis of the history of why it all happened. But I also have one question to address to the plenary this afternoon and this is, why are we all here? Beyond my pleasure and my intense anxiety about such a large audience, I am really genuinely very puzzled. I mean, where are we coming from? Are we interested in psychoanalysis, or feminism, or both? If we are feminists, why aren't we elsewhere as well as here? Why isn't more happening outside where I'm longing to see myself as well as everybody else here? Every day I feel an absence of us, in the field, so to speak.

[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.]

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