A Story of Her Own

The Female Oedipus Complex Reexamined and Renamed

By (author) Nancy Kulish, Deanna Holtzman

Publication date:

15 August 2008

Length of book:

192 pages


Jason Aronson, Inc.

ISBN-13: 9780765705648

A Story of Her Own is a reformulation of the psychoanalytic concept of the "female oedipal complex"—a term that encompasses the triangular development phase and the important conflicts and experiences in girls and women. Inspired by the mythic role in human experience and in the unique aspects of femininity, Nancy Kulish and Deanna Holtzman formulate a new name—"The Persephone Complex"—for this concept. They integrate traditional psychoanalytic theory, contemporary theories and data about female development and psychology, and clinical experience with female patients into a comprehensive theory that is not based on male models. With accumulated knowledge from their clinical work, they present new psychoanalytic and therapeutic perspectives on the experience of girls and women attempting to uncover a sense of agency in their lives. They touch upon the unique ways women cope with their sexuality and feelings about their bodies; with feelings of anger, competition, and jealousy; and with their ever-evolving relationships with their mothers, fathers, peers, and lovers.
The authors' ideas are both compelling and nuanced, reflecting an enlightened contemporary structural approach informed by gender and feminist, object relational, and intersubjective perspectives. there is fascinating material as well on the meaning and role of language, myth, and metaphor. Their review of the vast literature on female psychology is clear and systematic. the book contains much that will be of immediate practical value to the practicing clinician, demonstrating from multiple angles how the authors apply their ideas in helping their patients nurture and liberate their passion, pride and authority as women. Abundant and detailed clinical material illustrates such things as the interplay in women's lives between dyadic and triadic, separation and individuation, and family and work, as well as the special problems common to all women's lives, such as female aggression, shame, guilt, and issues with their female bodily life and sexuality. All clinicians, be they men or women, will find especially useful the extensive material on the common countertransference problems that arise in the treatment of women patients and the egosyntonic theoretical beliefs that contribute to these problems.