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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Sep 18, 2022

"I feel very often that I can detect when people are doing case presentations, this ubiquitous tendency to not bother about the body. At a very superficial level it is accepted that we run around in bodies. What is actually a slightly deeper idea is that we run around in bodies, but our minds couldn’t have any function at all if our other parts of our functional systems weren’t also working, So the body and the mind of course are deeply interconnected. We do know that too, that’s not news, but it constantly becomes eliminated."  


Episode Description: We begin with an overview of Rosemary's longstanding interest in the role of bodies and how they make their presence and meaning known in the clinical encounter. She discusses the analytic scotoma when it comes to the woman's body especially when it involves pregnancy and childbirth. We consider conflicts over being aware of and speaking freely about the analyst's body and what that is like for both parties. She shares her deep pleasure in the writings and person of Hans Loewald and what it has meant to her to be a physician. We consider how the sublimated role of a father's sexual arousal serves as an aid in his child's individuation. We close with Rosemary sharing her view of our field's past and some aspects of her personal journey.   


Our Guest: Rosemary H. Balsam F.R.C.Psych (London), M.R. C. P. (Edinboro), (originally from Belfast, N. Ireland), is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in Yale Medical School; staff psychiatrist in the Yale Department of Student Mental Health and Counseling, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis, New Haven, Conn. Her special interests are female gender developments; young adulthoods; the body in psychic life; the work of Hans Loewald. Dr. Balsam is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Quarterly and Imago and is a past co-editor of the Book Review Section of JAPA with her husband, Paul Schwaber. Her most recent book is Women’s Bodies in Psychoanalysis (2012, Routledge); and her latest book review (2021) At the Risk of Thinking: An Intellectual Biography of Julia Kristeva by Alice Jardine. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 102:629-634. She is on the executive board of the newly inaugurated “Loewald Center,” a joint organization between IPTAR and the WNEIP. Her honors include 2018, winning the Sigourney Award for excellence in the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (she was the first woman in the USA to receive this prize.) 


Recommended Readings: 


Balsam, R.M (2012) Women's Bodies in Psychoanalysis London, New York Routledge 

Balsam, R. H (2013) (Re)membering the Female Body in Psychoanalysis: Childbirth JAPA Volume 61: 3 pp. 446 - 470. 


Balsam, R.H. ((2015) The War on Women in Psychoanalytic Theory Building: Past to Present Psychoanal Study Child 69, 83-107. 2015. 


Balsam, R.H. (2019) The Natal Body and its Confusing Place in Mental Life: J,Amer.Psyoanal.Assn 67.1 pp.15- 36 


Balsam, R.H. (2017) Modern Gender Flexibility: Pronoun Changes and the Body’s Activities. Ch 4 In Vaia Tsolas and C. Anzieu Premmeurer (eds.) A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Body in Today's World: On The Body London, New York Routledge. 


Kristeva J. (1980) Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. L. S. Roudiez New York: Columbia University Press 1980). 


Toronto, E, Ponder, J, Davisson, K, KellyM.(eds) (2017) A Womb of Her Own: Women’s Struggle for Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy, London, New York Routledge.