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Edith Wharton’s Two Worlds: Overcoming Phobia and Sexual Problems

Deanna Holtzman, Ph.D. (Bloomfield Hills)

Nancy Kulish, Ph.D. (Birmingham)

Training and Supervising Analysts, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute


Saturday, February 11, 2012
2:00 - 4:00 PM
2 CME and CE Credit Hours

Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, 32841 Middlebelt Rd., Farmington Hills

Practice Gap/Need: This presentation will demonstrate the many meanings and functions of a phobia in an individual's mental life and behavior. Mental health practitioners would be helped to treat such phobias, which often seem mysterious and unintelligible.

Edith Wharton, the pre-eminent American writer, left a great deal of autobiographical material, letters, diaries, plus, of course, a vast collection of literary fiction and non-fiction. A fascinating theme runs through much of her work - that of living or being trapped between "two worlds". This theme is critical to understanding Wharton's psychology and the psychology of women in general. The authors will examine an unusual neurotic phobia suffered by Wharton as it is related to the theme of two worlds, and link these ideas more broadly to common sexual conflicts in women.

Learning objectives:
1) Attendees will be able to describe the multiple functions of a phobic symptom.
2) Attendees will be able to list major components of the female triangular situation.
3) Attendees will be able to relate the theme of two worlds to typical female conflicts and sexual difficulties.

About the presenters:
Deanna Holtzman, Ph.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst and past president of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute and The Michigan Association of Psychoanalysis. Dr. Holtzman is a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine at Wayne State University and an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit, Department of Psychology. She is the current president of the Sigmund Freud Archives.

Nancy Kulish, Ph.D. is Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Wayne State Medical School and Adjunct Professor of Psychology, University of Detroit Mercy. She is a Training and Supervising Analyst and past president of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. She was chosen as the National Woman Psychoanalytic Scholar for 2005 of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Drs. Holtzman and Kulish have written extensively on female psychology and sexuality, gender, and transference/countertransference. They have co-authored Nevermore: The Hymen and the Loss of Virginity (1996) and A Story of Her Own: The Female Oedipus Complex Re-examined and Renamed.