chapter  5
56 Pages

Metamorphosis – the story of Pygmalion and the process of change in the psychoanalysis and treatment of secondary amenorrhea

WithDanielle Redland

The Pygmalion myth, as it appears in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and in Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, is used here to show how difficult it is to relinquish certain states in order to then move on to a process of transformation and change. Pygmalion creates a perfectly beautiful, mute statue for himself so that he can live in a society which he does not feel part of. He can keep himself separate from all that he sees as flawed. In contrast, Higgins and Eliza Doolittle search for ways to overcome societal differences and resultant feelings of alienation felt through disconnects. Transformation, identification, separation, alienation and loss, both consciously and unconsciously experienced and communicated, are prevalent themes shared in these tales. They are themes that are tantamount in our interpretive approach to secondary amenorrhea. Ovid’s work can represent the pre-oedipal, pre-verbal world in which the ambiguity between what is illusionary and what is real is at its most heightened. Unconscious phantasy is communicated and defended against through the body and through the gaze. In applying Freudian theory such as the “Pleasure Principle” and other psychoanalytic works to both versions of Pygmalion, we ask the question, how can we love if we do not feel love in return?