A Far Cry From A No Thing: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women and Secondary Amenorrhea

Redland, Danielle Fortunee. 2018. A Far Cry From A No Thing: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Women and Secondary Amenorrhea. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Secondary amenorrhea is predominantly viewed outside of the social norms, somehow beyond the natural order of things. It might appear to reside in the shadows of its menstruating counterpart, viewed as that which is lacking, but this thesis will prove otherwise.

Secondary amenorrhea is a very powerful and present symbol that makes its mark in medical, cultural, social, anthropological, political and religious life. Narratives of womanhood and statehood dominate. Examples will be draw from women in war and the Holocaust, hysterics of the late nineteenth century, prominence of patriarchy, gynecology, psychogenic trauma and eating disorders.

What though for the individual? What does it mean when a woman of menstruating age stops bleeding and what does it matter to her or to us? This thesis considers how the mind weighs heavily on the body. Through the application of psychoanalytic thinking, this thesis will link the cessation of menses to the unconscious registers suggesting that there is a communication of the psyche that looks to the body to find expression. Issues of symbiosis, inter-dependency, individuation, alienation, separation and loss are themes that recur in cultural and historical narratives worldwide and in the clinical work. These are discussed using examples from the consulting room. Psychic conflict and the search for resolution will be demonstrated in a psychoanalytic review of Ovid's Pygmalion and Shaw's retelling of the story. We shall also consider the role of the analyst by studying Freud's failed treatment of Emma Eckstein.

The purpose of this thesis is to show just how much presence there is in this supposed absence.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Amenorrhea, menstruation, psychoanalysis, Emma Eckstein, Pygmalion, anorexia, Freud, Hysteria

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)


28 February 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2018 09:47

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 14:10



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