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Maestro, S. Tancredi, R. (2017). Psychoanalysis and Autism: Dialogues between Mind and Body. Ital. Psychoanal. Annu., 11:93-104.

(2017). The Italian Psychoanalytic Annual, 11:93-104

Psychoanalysis and Autism: Dialogues between Mind and Body Language Translation

Sandra Maestro and Raffaella Tancredi

The openness of psychoanalysis to the contribution of other sciences, and in particular to that of the neurosciences, calls on the entire psychoanalytic community to in-form and integrate its own models of reference, a process that is sure to modify the stance, thoughts, ideas and technique of every individual analyst. In particular, as child psychoanalysts, we have always encountered the need in our rêverie (Bion, 1962) to integrate the biological with the mental, bodily development with the advent of psychic organisation, the soma/psyche bivalence with the constitution of the subjective, and the language of the body and of action with the «agent Self» (Stern, 1987, 89). In child therapy the analyst must patiently contend with the searching and waiting for the emergence of the verbal from the pre-verbal, the symbol from the asymbolic, perception from sensoriality, emotional feeling from the bodily state (Schore, 2003). Autism is a paradigmatic developmental pathology of this complex situation, in its constant requirement for the analyst's mind to create links/networks of meaning which may give sense/direction to the apparent aimlessness of the child's behaviour. In this connection, it must be emphasised that the theoretical contribution given by psychoanalysis has been predominantly based on data collected by means of psychoanalytic practice: that is, through empirical, epiphenomenal observation of the child's behaviour filtered by the countertransference of the analyst at work.

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