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Alvarez, A. Peltz, R. (2018). Conversations with Clinicians. Fort Da, 24(1):66-93.

(2018). Fort Da, 24(1):66-93

Conversations with Clinicians

Anne Alvarez, Ph.D., MACP and In Conversation with Rachael Peltz, Ph.D.

On April 19, 2017, at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Anne Alvarez, who was here from the UK as the PINC International Visiting Scholar. Dr. Alvarez is known for her work with severely disturbed children and is the author of many articles and two books: Live Company: Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children, and The Thinking Heart: Three Levels of Psychodynamic Work in Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents. She has also edited with Susan Reid, Autism and Personality: Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshop. (From time to time, our conversation included questions and comments from audience members [AM].)

RP: So before we start, a little introduction. If we look at the history of psychoanalysis, we can trace some of the most radical innovations in our thinking about clinical work to the courageous work of key figures who have worked with the most difficult to help patients, often in extreme situations. Tonight, we have the pleasure of talking with one such radical innovator, Anne Alvarez, who is known for her clinical work and writing about severely disturbed and autistic children — children she has worked with for over 55 years!

As you have all probably discovered, Anne writes with unusual candor and clarity about what she has learned in the course of her work, calling into question many of the assumptions contained within generations of psychoanalytic thinking, including her own thinking. Those of you who have read her books and papers will no doubt have noticed the refreshing directness of her clinical accounts, replete with allusions to literature, art, and music. She does not mince words. She tells it like it is without compromising on rigor or grace.

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