Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia vol 4: Psychoanalytic Theories and Therapies


PACJA vol. 4 is now published. As editor I put together this exciting themed edition on psychoanalytic theories and therapies. There are contributions by leaders in their fields including Professor Jon Mills, Professor Diana Kenny, Associate Professor Peg Levine, Professor Denis O’Hara. Professor Anthony McCarthy, Anne Manne on narcissism and more. You can read my editorial here which gives a good overview of each article as well as the two literature reviews and books reviews.

“This edition of PACJA promises an eclectic and exciting collection of articles under the broad theme of psychoanalytic theories and therapies. What characterizes these different articles – the first three in particular – is an analysis of analysis or, in Jon Mills’ terms, an internal critique of psychoanalytic theories and therapies. This critique from within is important; it is part of the process of scholarly and clinical reflection and revision and yet, as Mills describes, it is so often fraught.  While critique from outside psychoanalysis is predictably dismissive, faulting psychoanalytic concepts such as the unconscious on their lack of empirical evidence or theories such as infantile sexuality on their apparently preposterous and fantastical qualities, critique from within tends to be fractious and lead to splits within and across schools.” Read on.


Book Review for Petra Bueskens (ed.) Mothering & Psychoanalysis. Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives




The Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia, vol. 3 was released in July this year and included an excellent nuanced review of my edited book Mothering and Psychoanalysis by Amanda de Clifford. You can read the review here.


From Perfect Housewife to Fishnet Stockings and Not Quite Back Again: One Mother’s Story of Leaving Home

I wrote “From Perfect Housewife to Fishnet Stockings and Not Quite Back Again: One Mother’s Story of Leaving Home” for The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering’s seventh issue, Mothering, Sex and Sexuality, Spring/Summer 2002, Vol 4.1, 238 pages.  This article tells the story of one of the women in my early PhD research on “mothers who leave” . “Lillith” tells the story of the return of her sexuality after leaving her partner and children. This paper was initially presented at the Association for Research on Mothering Conference MOTHERING, SEX AND SEXUALITY held on March 3-4, 2001, 152 Founders College, York University, Toronto, Canada. 

The Impossibility of “Natural Parenting” for Modern Mothers. On Social Structure And The Formation Of Habit.

I wrote “The Impossibility of “Natural Parenting” for Modern Mothers. On Social Structure And The. Formation Of Habit” for the Journal for the Association for Research on Mothering, vol. 3, no. 1, 2001. It was my first published piece and examines the difficulties inherent in mothering, especially attachment parenting, in the context of modern social structure with its sequestration of women to the private sphere and emphasis on individual fulfillment.  I wrote this from a complex place having been very involved in attachment parenting my first daughter, yet critical of the difficulties – nay impossibilities – this imposed. I remain both critical and respectful of attachment parenting (which may not be apparent from the article or its subsequent uses).

This article was selected for re-printing in Andrea O’Reilly (ed.) Mother Matters: Motherhood as Discourse and Practice (2004). In addition, it has been cited, written about and reviewed in many places.  See:

Joan B. Wolf, Is Breast Best? Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood, New York University Press, New York, 2011.

Ivana Brown, A Sociological Analysis of Maternal Ambivalence: Class and Race Differences Among New Mothers, PhD Thesis, Rutgers University, 2011.

Martha McCaughey, “Got Milk?: Breastfeeding as an ‘Incurably Informed’ Feminist STS Scholar“, Science as Culture,vol. 19, no. 1, 2010, pp. 79-100.

Ruth Cain, ” A View You Won’t Get Anywhere Else’’? Depressed Mothers, Public Regulation and ‘Private’ Narrative” Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 17, 2009, pp. 123-143.

“The Impossibility of ‘Natural Parenting’ for Modern Mothers, thread posted by ‘vaptek’ on 30/08/2008.
Shelley Kulperger, “Loss of Mother/Hood: Maternalising Postcolonial Cultural Memory” Hecate, vol.33, no.1, 2007, p.223.
Joan B Wolf, “Is Breast Really Best? Risk and Total Motherhood in the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign“, Journal of Health, Policy and Law, vol. 32, no.4, 2007, pp.  595-636
Andrea O’Reilly (ed.), From Motherhood to Mothering: The Legacy of Adrienne Rich’s “Of Woman Born“, SUNY Press, New York, 2004. See in particular the introduction, p. 6.
Chris Bobel, “When Good Enough Isn’t: Mother Blame in the Continuum Concept“, Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involevment, vol. 6, no. 2, 2004, pp. 68-78.
Alison Bartlett, “Breastfeeding Bodies and Choice in Late Capitalism“, Hecate, vol, 29, no. 2, 2003,  pp. 153-165.

Review of “A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Seven Societies” by Judy DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb

I wrote a review of Judy DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb (eds.) A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Seven Societies, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000 for The Journal of the Association of Research on Mothering, vol. 3, no. 1, 2001, pp. 227-228.


From the text:

“Imagined Childcare Guides? What on earth are they? Amidst an array of fascinating anthropological research, we discover that they are “truthful fictions” or realistic accounts of childrearing conveyed through an imaginary protagonist. This is a clever book.  It takes the format of the childcare guide of the later twentieth century and uses it, albeit fictively, to develop a series of guides for ‘other’ societies: the Puritans of seventeenth century Massachusetts; the Beng of Ivory Coast (West Africa);  the  Balinese  of Indonesia;  Muslim  villagers  in  Turkey;  the Walpiri  (an Aboriginal group) of Northern  Australia; the Fulani of West and Central  Africa; and the Ifaluk people of Micronesia.”


Petra Bueskens | Mother, scholar, psychotherapist | Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Melbourne Daylesford