A Story of Her Own reviews and evaluates existing psychoanalytic theories about the 'female oedipal complex,' from early theories by Freud to contemporary writings from many theoretical frameworks. Important aspects of the female triangular complex are examined in detail: entry into the triangular phase; dynamics and conflicts of the phase, such as separation from mother, sexuality, competition, and typical defenses; guilt and superego; and the role of the female body. Specific treatment issues related to these experiences are addressed, including gender-related transferences and countertransferences.
A Story of Her Own is a reformulation of the psychoanalytic concept of the 'female oedipal complex'—a term that encompasses the triangular development phase and the important conflicts and experiences in girls and women. Inspired by the mythic role in human experience and in the unique aspects of femininity, Nancy Kulish and Deanna Holtzman formulate a new name—'The Persephone Complex'—for this concept. They integrate traditional psychoanalytic theory, contemporary theories and data about female development and psychology, and clinical experience with female patients into a comprehensive theory that is not based on male models. With accumulated knowledge from their clinical work, they present new psychoanalytic and therapeutic perspectives on the experience of girls and women attempting to uncover a sense of agency in their lives. They touch upon the unique ways women cope with their sexuality and feelings about their bodies; with feelings of anger, competition, and jealousy; and with their ever-evolving relationships with their mothers, fathers, peers, and lovers.