I first explored Raphael-Leff’s theory on Maternal styles (Regulators, Facilitators, Reciprocators, Conflicted) for my Masters thesis in Manchester Uni on Maternal Expectations vs Maternal Reality (and then I looked into the links between these styles and birth complications as part of my Doctorate). It was an exceptional journey of theory, practice and self discovery. I also dared to contact Joan who invited me to visit her in her womb-like office in London. She treated me with homemade cake and drove me back to the train station…me, trembling with the sense of “oh gosh all the questions I am totally lost for asking her right now!”
I have always been fascinated by the Psychoanalytical approaches to the psyche…perhaps since high school when I was filling my nights with Neitzche, the incomprehensible Lacan, and of course Freud. The interpretations of dreams and the development of sexuality, drives and complexes made me see the world, my high school friends and my then boyfriend from what I thought back then as a quite analytical lens. I still believe it gave me immense depth and an angle that I needed to orient myself quite early in life about what I wanted and needed. Life and the ways to get there had different plans for me though, which from the perspective of time are now divine blessings and I wouldn’t change a speck of my story. More on this some other time…
Luckily, I got to deepen my psychoanalytic knowledge in Sofia Uni and then sharpen my analytic skills during my classical Freudian trainings in dream interpretation.
Visiting Raphael-Leff was not only humbling but quite insightful and building for me. She opened the doors to contemporary Psychoanalysis in the realm of Motherhood – Lisa Baraitser (who I miraculously met while being a visiting scholar in UCL, and stood in awe while she delivered a lecture on Modern motherhood under the Ethics of Interruption); Roszika Parker, whose Torn in Two, was a personal and professional endeavor for the last 9 years of my academic work (during my own personal mothering journey).
Yesterday I was so thrilled to see Leff’s latest work “Dark side of the womb” published by the Anna Freud Centre, and what a great combination of icons for me right there – Pink Floyd and JRL! I have inhaled the first 10 pages and had to share with you all my excitement!