TRANSITIONAL MATERNAL OBJECTS:
Tracing Female Development through the Yearnings of Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel’s “Are You My Mother?” illustrates a complex rendering of her process of grappling with her relationship with her mother, using Winnicottian concepts and the man himself as a maternal icon to frame her feelings, fantasies, and conflicts. Bechdel’s creative journey in finding her artist voice are entwined with her identities as a gay woman, as the daughter of a mother whose own artistic dreams were truncated, and as a patient in psychoanalytic treatment. This seminar will take up female identity development (distinct from traditional ways of understanding development), sexuality, and Oedipal conflicts, with discussion of the meanings of mourning, sexuality, maternal identification, separation-individuation, recognition and power, post-Oedipal functioning, and the imperative to find a creative “way out” to becoming an embodied, potent, autonomous, and loving woman. We will weave in theory and clinical material to contemplate how Bechdel’s work illustrates the broad spectrum of issues around female identity.
At the conclusion of this course participants will be able to:
- Explain critical moments in the developmental processes which contribute to true self emergence in adulthood.
- Identify and discuss the intersections of gay and artist identities with anxieties, mourning, and adult thriving and well being.
- Utilize, define, and identify at least five intangible obstacles which can wreak havoc along the path to becoming an emancipated adult.
- Describe several critical factors in a female's relationship with the mother which affect her process of becoming a mature, adult woman.
Abbass, A. A., Rabung, S., Leichsenring, F., Refseth, J. S., & Midgley, N. (2013). Psychodynamic psychotherapy for children and adolescents: A meta-analysis of short-term psychodynamic models. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(8), 863-875.
Beebe, B., Jaffe, J., Markese, S., Buck, K., Chen, H., Cohen, P., ... & Feldstein, S. (2010). The origins of 12-month attachment: A microanalysis of 4-month mother–infant interaction. Attachment & human development, 12(1-2), 3-141.
Del Giudice, M., & Belsky, J. (2010). Sex differences in attachment emerge in middle childhood: An evolutionary hypothesis. Child Development Perspectives, 4(2), 97-105.
Milena Edwards, Psy.D., has spent her career focusing on issues of female identity from early adulthood to navigating choices around work, family, and partnerships. Dr. Edwards is the Director of Training at Access Institute and has a private practicein Oakland.
This course is for clinicians of all levels, including graduate students, with an interest in thinking about intersecting identities in the light of sexuality, adult development, and creativity; female emotional development and the relationship with the mother/maternal; and transitional phenomena.
Enrollees who cancel at least SEVEN DAYS prior to the event date will receive a refund minus a $35 administrative charge. No refunds will be allowed after this time. Transfer of registrations are not allowed.