Award Year: 2018
Rosemary Balsam is honored for her restoration of the body to psychoanalysis by including the female body. Pregnancy and childbirth have been erased in psychoanalytic theory. This fecund symbol, as iconic in the unconscious as the erect phallus, is missing. Female bodily experience is lost in enduring traumatic silence. Balsam elaborates ramifications within clinical and theoretical work deeply affected by such unconscious annihilation. This new light re-works outmoded elements of theories; sexed gender understandings; pleasures; violence; trauma transmission between mothers and daughters; internalizations; added dimensions of maleness. Dr. Balsam’s vision includes distinctly two natal sexes, in restoring Freud’s ego as “first and foremost a bodily ego.” ‘More than or less than,’ are comparative fantasies for constructing a personal non-polarized gender portrait – not the substance of a durable metatheory. Dr. Balsam’s is a brilliantly original discovery in the heart of psychoanalytic theory. Her work therefore deserves a Sigourney award, and because it re-focuses analysis into a future that is alert to neuroscience, culture and inevitably, the equality of women.