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Bernstein, P.P. (1987). The Psychology of Today's Woman: New Psychoanalytic Visions: Edited by Toni Bernay and Dorothy W. Cantor. Hillsdale, New Jersey: The Analytic Press. 1986. Pp. 377 + xvii.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:299-302.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:299-302

The Psychology of Today's Woman: New Psychoanalytic Visions: Edited by Toni Bernay and Dorothy W. Cantor. Hillsdale, New Jersey: The Analytic Press. 1986. Pp. 377 + xvii.

Review by:
Paula P. Bernstein

These seventeen essays on a wide range of topics pertaining to female psychology have been written by representatives of radically different schools of psychoanalytic thought and training. In the United States, analysts of such diverse theoretical orientation seldom meet to share their views in a single forum. It seems the pressing need to formulate a 'truer' and more clinically useful psychology of women has dissolved barriers and made possible this far-ranging exploration of femininity and of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with women. The reader will find much here of enormous value, but should be prepared to raise objections and argue at points along the way. The papers are organized into four sections: Traditional Visions of Femininity Reassessed; New Visions of Femininity; Today's Woman; and Issues in the Therapeutic Relationship.

Two papers reassess the 'traditional' views of femininity first put forward by Freud. 'Is Freud an Enemy of Women's Liberation? Some Historical Considerations', by Helen Block Lewis, takes Freud severely to task for the 'biological androcentrism, sexism, and misogyny' that pervade his writings about women. An interesting section of this essay tells the story of Freud's puzzling dismissal of Karen Horney's papers on the genesis of the castration complex in women and provides a valuable summary of Horney's views for those who may be unfamiliar with them. 'Early Pathways to Female Sexuality in Advantaged and Disadvantaged Girls', by Eleanor Galenson, gives a concise review of the research of the author and her co-workers on the development of gender identity and genital erotic feeling in the second year of life.

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