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Davids, J. (1989). The Trustmeter: The Analysis of an Anxious Latency Boy. Bul. Anna Freud Centre, 12(2):143-165.

(1989). Bulletin of the Anna Freud Centre, 12(2):143-165

The Trustmeter: The Analysis of an Anxious Latency Boy

Jennifer Davids


This paper is an account of a two-year analysis of a well-endowed latency boy whose predominant symptom was anxiety. His anxieties derived from different phases of development and affected his object relations. The impact of the parental pathology and its intertwining with this boy's unfolding development is central to the understanding of Adam's sense of inner peril and relative fragility.

Referral and Presenting Difficulties

Adam B was referred when he was 9 years 4 months. He is now 11 years 6 months.

Both parents had felt concerned about Adam for some time and he was referred to the Anna Freud Centre when Mr B's psychoanalyst suggested that Adam needed help. It is interesting to note that Mr B terminated his own analysis a few weeks after Adam began treatment. Mr B claimed that he was becoming ‘too dependent’ on his male analyst.

The family moved from Edinburgh when Adam was eight and he was sent to a school in London where he was very unhappy. He missed the old school he had attended since he was five, which had been small and homely and—most importantly for him—which had been familiar. Adam's tearful resistance to attending school and his unwillingness to get dressed in the mornings, together with his refusal to eat on occasions, had culminated in battles with his mother. She was alarmed when he told her that he ‘could not go on’. Adam complained that he was bullied and teased at his London school and that certain boys stole his possessions. Although he had some friends, the parents reported that he had to be ‘pushed’ into going to play with peers and into after—school activities.

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