2020 Gradiva Award Nominee, Best Edited Book

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women and Their Experience of Desire, Ambition and Leadership considers how these factors can be understood, nurtured, or thwarted and the subsequent impact on women’s identity, authority and satisfaction.

Psychoanalysis has long struggled with its ideas about women, about who they are, how to work with them, and how to respect and encourage what women want. This book argues that psychoanalytic theory and practice must evolve to maintain its relevance in a volatile landscape. Each section of the book begins with a chapter that reviews contemporary ideas regarding women, as well as psychoanalytic history, gender bias, and societal norms and deficits. Three composite clinical stories allow our distinguished contributors to discuss the contexts within which individual experience can be affected, and the role that clinical work may have to mobilize and advance passion and vitality. In their discussions, the interplay of clinical psychoanalysis, sociopolitical context, and understanding of gender, combine to offer a unique perspective, built on decades of scholarship, personal experience, and clinical expertise. 

Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women and Their Experience of Desire, Ambition and Leadership will serve as a reference for all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists as well as gender studies scholars interested in the progress of psychoanalytic theory regarding women in the 21st century.

Contributors to this book include: Rosemary Balsam, Brenda Bauer, Andrea Celenza, Diane Elise, Adrienne Harris, Dorothy Holmes, Nancy Kulish, Vivian Pendar, Dionne Powell, and Arlene Richards.

part I|2 pages


chapter 1|21 pages


What women want
ByStephanie Brody

chapter 2|6 pages


A story of desire
ByStephanie Brody

chapter 3|10 pages

A clinical case of desire

ByRosemary Balsam

chapter 4|8 pages

The present absence of desire in a dead body

ByAndrea Celenza

chapter 5|7 pages

Frazzled desire

Out of time
ByDianne Elise

part II|2 pages


chapter 6|26 pages

Female ambition

56Psychoanalytic perspectives
ByFrances Arnold

chapter 7|7 pages


A story of ambition
ByFrances Arnold

chapter 8|8 pages

Commentary on Elizabeth

A case of the othering of a woman’s ambition
ByDorothy Holmes

chapter 9|6 pages

The case of Elizabeth

A discussion of ambition
ByNancy Kulish

chapter 10|9 pages


Appropriated ambition … a narrative
ByDionne Powell

part III|2 pages


chapter 11|20 pages

Leadership and women

114Opportunity mobilized
ByStephanie Brody

chapter 12|15 pages

The social construction of female power and leadership

A psychoanalytic perspective
ByFrances Arnold

chapter 13|5 pages


A story of leadership
ByFrances Arnold, Stephanie Brody

chapter 14|4 pages

Feminine agency and identity amid mother-daughter alienation

ByBrenda Bauer

chapter 15|6 pages

Women and ambition

Our ambivalent under-indulged pleasure
ByAdrienne Harris

chapter 16|5 pages

Discussion of Claire

Identity, conflict and subjective reality in women leaders
ByVivian Pender

chapter 17|10 pages

Difference, connection, identification

ByArlene Richards