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Tuby, M. (1992). SAMUELS, A. (London). ‘Le père et ses enfants’. Cahiers Jungiens de Psychanalyse, 70, 1991, pp. 59-75. (Abridged from articles published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4, 4, and 5, 1, 1988. Also part of Samuels, A., The Plural Psyche, London, Routledge, 1989.). J. Anal. Psychol., 37(3):364-365.

(1992). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 37(3):364-365

SAMUELS, A. (London). ‘Le père et ses enfants’. Cahiers Jungiens de Psychanalyse, 70, 1991, pp. 59-75. (Abridged from articles published in the British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4, 4, and 5, 1, 1988. Also part of Samuels, A., The Plural Psyche, London, Routledge, 1989.)

Review by:
Molly Tuby

When papers on the father by Andrew Samuels began to appear, many of us heaved a sigh of relief after years of struggling with (dare I say suffocating under?) a weighty over-emphasis on mother in developmental psychology. Father was neglected, Samuels writes, after having been the central figure in the early days of psychoanalysis.

In this rich and thought-provoking paper, the role of the father in gender identity is explored. The importance of incest is stressed by comparing the differing views of Freud and Jung, and by differentiating sharply between acted-out and contained incest, the latter seen as the root of closeness and love, whether in the family or in the transference/countertransference situation—not as unconscious longing for intrapsychic union. The cultural aspects of ‘the relation called father’ are opposed to the biological relation with mother.

Samuels's main concern is the crucial part played by the father in fostering fluidity of gender identity which, ideally, should be neither too certain, nor too confused, somewhere between the two, just a little mixed-up … a good safeguard against the stereotype of sexual normality. Erotic tension between father and daughter is of paramount importance: through the right sort of ‘play-back’, it frees the daughter from the conscious or unconscious gender certainty that feminine equals mother, thus enabling her to follow other ways which are truly her own. Handled differently, this applies to the son too, but here the main issue at stake, apart from separation from mother, is transformation of aggression into spiritual values, brought about not by absolute victory but by ongoing process in the conflict between generations.

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