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(1987). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 56:605-606.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:605-606

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East


Dr. Rolde explored the problem of the development of female gender identity. She outlined Freud's "phallocentric theory of female sexuality," along with a number of historical challenges to it. She cited the recent views of Kestenberg, Torok, and Stoller that emphasize the ideas that "a girl is not just a failed boy" and that females have a sense of their own sex early in the postnatal period. Irene Fast's recent book, Gender Identity, suggested the existence of bisexuality in the preoedipal period; the bisexuality eventually yields to the reality principle but is never entirely relinquished. Dr. Rolde stated that although Freud viewed females as remaining narcissistically wounded and unrealistic, there is evidence that he recognized the ongoing "oscillation of libido between male and female objects." She presented a case report which illustrated these issues, highlighting the patient's relationship to her father and its contribution to the (persistence of) bisexuality.

The patient, a woman in her thirties, entered analysis because of anxiety, depression, and an inability to maintain a loving relationship with a man. Pertinent factors in her history included her mother's surgery for carcinoma of the breast when the patient was several months old, the parents' two-month trip which excluded the patient and her siblings, and the mother's death when the patient was three years old.

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