Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

7.S: Chapter Summary

  • Page ID
  • Review of Key Points

    • Sigmund Freud acknowledged that he really did not fully understand female psychology.
    • Within a strict Freudian paradigm, Marie Bonaparte described three types of women. There are women who accept their proper role in society, those who give up on meaningful relationships, and those who fight society. Bonaparte believed that the women who fight their role in society can never be fulfilled sexually.
    • Bonaparte suggested that psychological development in boys is easier than it is for girls, since all children begin by loving a women (their mother), which is appropriate for boys. She also believed the physical structure of the penis made understanding sexuality easier for boys.
    • Jean Baker Miller began addressing the differences in power and status that exist between boys/men and girls/women, and the cultural system that develop to maintain those differences.
    • Since a woman must make major sacrifices to raise an infant, Miller believed that so-called feminine attributes are essential to accomplish that goal.
    • According to Miller, and other theorists at the Stone Center, a woman’s experience is based on connections with others. This led to the formation of relational-cultural theory.
    • Empathy and mutuality are essential to forming successful connections.
    • Problems arise when people become disconnected. Repeated disconnection can make individuals afraid to form connections, resulting in the central paradox of connection/disconnection.
    • Relational therapy seeks to provide an opportunity for patients to experience empathy, mutuality, and connection. It requires therapists to become fully engaged in the therapeutic process.
    • According to Chodorow, the mother-daughter relationship is special because the mother experiences her daughter(s) as similar to herself. The daughter incorporates this special relationship as a primary object relation.
    • A woman’s development of the special object relation regarding her mother leads to a need to balance her relational world by becoming a mother herself.
    • Chodorow believed that since mothers experience their sons as different, boys begin to develop as more independent individuals.