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Women and achievement: Developmental considerations

21 July 1989


The focus of this paper will be on women and achievement. Achievement related issues are to be understood as intrapsychic ally tied to identity. The awareness of a "self' is seen as central to how one actively uses herself in the world. Achievement, therefore, involves the definition of a "self' and is closely tied to the process of identity formation. The intrapsychic components become important in describing the emergence of an "achieving self." Recent literature on the developmental sequence, especially as it relates to women, is crucial to an understanding of achievement related difficulties in women. The developmental literature, in addition to recent contributions from object relations theory, self psychology, and psychoanalytic theory (oedipal considerations) are seen as important theoretical underpinnings for an understanding of the intrapsychic contributions to difficulties with achievement. The plan here will be to (1) review a range of theoretical constructs. (2) A link will be made between theory and clinical practice. The underlying question throughout this presentation was: What specific theoretical contributions involving an intrapsychic perspective have advanced understandings and the clinical treatment of women with achievement related difficulties?


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