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Pichon, A.A. (1958). House Construction Play its Interpretation and Diagnostic Value. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 39:39-49.
  

(1958). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 39:39-49

House Construction Play its Interpretation and Diagnostic Value

Arminda A. Pichon

During the psycho-analytical treatment of children I have frequently observed that in playing at constructing houses with 'The Little Architect' the child expresses a number of fundamental conflicts and that one can see if and in what way his body scheme is distorted. I have noticed that children suffering from neurosis or psychosis do not construct their houses according to a pattern of reality adjusted to their chronological age; that is to say, although a child of 8, for example, consciously knows that a house has a floor, a roof, walls, windows and doors distributed in a given way, these children frequently forget the doors or the windows, or they forget the roof, or place it in the air. There is always some part missing, others are exaggerated, repeated, distorted, or used in an inadequate manner: for example, to make the roof they use cardboard supports, or bits of roof to make the walls, thus rendering the construction difficult or impossible. These distortions correspond to some internal motivation and have a meaning. It is therefore possible to interpret them.

I soon realized that the interpretation of this material had a value during analysis, and that it could be of great use for diagnosis.

It is a well-known fact in psycho-analysis that the dream utilizes the house or a part of it to symbolize the body wholly or in part. Also in legends, poetry, and myths the house has been used to symbolize the body, and each part of the body has a particular connection with parts of the house: thus balconies ordinarily represent the breasts, the downstairs the genital organs, the upstairs the head, etc.

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