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Winer, J.A. Anderson, J.W. Garber, B. (2008). Introduction. Ann. Psychoanal., 36:1-4.

(2008). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 36:1-4


Jerome A. Winer, M.D., James William Anderson, Ph.D. and Benjamin Garber, M.D.

We chose the title “Psychoanalysis and Children” because it captures in a few words the three ways in which psychoanalysis has interacted with children: psychoanalytic perspectives on child development, the psychoanalysis of children, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy with children.

Psychoanalysis has had a long, ambivalent, and entangled relationship with these areas. In constructing his theory of psychosexual development, Sigmund Freud provided the first dynamic account of child development, an account that inspired many later models, such as Erik H. Erikson's stages of the human life cycle and Jean Piaget's model of cognitive development. But Freud had little to do with children and mentions in an aside in The Interpretation of Dreams that he rarely observed his own children (Freud, 1900, p. 251); we imagine that the women in his household told him that the nursery was their domain and not his. Freud valued the use of psychoanalytic treatment with children and enthusiastically supported his daughter, Anna Freud, in her pioneering work as the central figure in the development of child analysis. But it seems that in his many decades as a psychoanalyst he never treated a child himself. Freud (1909), however, did provide consultation to a friend in helping the friend's son; the result was his famous case of Little Hans. In the years since Freud's death in 1939, the relationship has continued to be ambivalent. Child psychoanalysts, for example, often feel that they do not have equal status at psychoanalytic institutes and that child analytic training is treated as a stepchild. But psychoanalysis has made a rich contribution to the understanding and treatment of children.

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