College Fellow wins international award

Dr. Balsam’s Groundbreaking Female Body-focused Psychoanalytic Theory wins The Sigourney Award

A Fellow of the College has won a prestigious international award which recognises outstanding work advancing psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical thought worldwide.

Dr Rosemary Balsam has become the first US woman to win the Sigourney Award, and received the prize days ago at the International Psychoanalytic Association Congress in London.

The award committee lauded Balsam’s radical work refocusing psychanalytic theory on the female body.

Dr. Balsam’s work represents an original aspect to psychoanalytic theory that refocuses analysis on a future that can be alert to as wide a range as neuroscience, culture and inevitably, the equality of female and male body experiences. Her work is radical because it highlights the erasure of the female body itself in psychoanalytic theory. Dr. Balsam – who became a Fellow of the College in 2012 - explores the ramifications of clinical and theoretical work deeply affected by such unconscious annihilation.

Her book, “Women’s Body in Psychoanalysis,” explored questions of female biological awareness with particular emphasis on the child bearing, sexual symbolism, intergenerational trauma, and the complexities of gender.

Dr. William Myerson, co-Trustee of The Sigourney Award, said: “Dr. Balsam’s outstanding work has contributed substantially to shifting a long-tolerated male-focused perspective in psychoanalytic thought.

“This work represents Mary Sigourney’s original vision of how psychoanalysis can serve humanity. It is fitting that the first U.S. woman to win the Sigourney Award refocused analysis to acknowledge and embrace the female experience and would make Mary very proud.”

Dr Balsam said: “I am thrilled to have the long-ignored power and vivacity of the female body recognized in our theory of mind by this wonderful Sigourney award, and I hope that it animates future interests in the desperately needed further explorations that will benefit all sex and gender variants within our rich human culture.

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