Psychotherapy with Women: Feminist Perspectives by Marilyn Lawrence, Marie Maguire

By Marilyn Lawrence, Marie Maguire

First released in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Psychotherapy with Women: Feminist Perspectives

First released in 1999. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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The same baby girl raised by English parents (in an adopted scenario, say) will walk, talk and gesture like an English girl; she will develop mechanisms like the rest of her contemporaries which will engage her energy towards common goals. 38 Women's development in the family Despite the obvious nature of these facts, we are used to thinking of human nature as fixed. Even if we reject crude genetic arguments about personality and desire, or Freudian notions of libido driving us, we cany around a sense of ourselves as being unique and, when pressed, we have few ways to articulate how we understand that uniqueness to have come about.

And yet, on each visit she is left feeling cold and empty. Her desires go unmet and her longing turns inwards as depression and rage. Bob's ways of disappointing her are not the same as the mother's ways, but she experiences them similarly. The psychic energy first invested in her mother and then withdrawn into the world of object relations has been reinvested in Bob. When he disappoints her, she has the psychic apparatus in place to cope with it. She can't leave Bob because she feels his lack of giving to her to be her fault, just as she couldn't really reject those aspects of her mother that caused her such grief as a baby when she was entirely dependent upon her mother for care.

She comes and she goes, she tends to us sometimes but not at other times. We get used to the feel and rhythm of her caring presence. Perhaps as a baby we begin to develop an awareness that we cannot control her or how we feel. She decides to change us, to feed us. She decides to listen to our cues or to disregard them. As the baby internalises the good and responsive caring, it grows and flourishes. Care of a kind that can be metabolised becomes the food for psychological growth and development.

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