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Bick, E. (1962). Symposium on Child Analysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:328-329.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:328-329

Symposium on Child Analysis

Esther Bick

I. Child Analysis Today

This Symposium is in the nature of an historical event—it is the first symposium on child analysis at an International Congress of Psycho-Analysis. In May 1927, such a symposium was held before the British Psycho-Analytical Society. On that occasion Melanie Klein contrasted the development of child analysis with that of adult analysis, discussing the striking fact that although child analysis had a history of about eighteen years, its fundamental principles had not yet been clearly enunciated, whereas, after a similar period in the history of adult analysis, the basic principles had been laid down, empirically tested, and the fundamental principles of technique firmly established. She went on to discuss why the analysis of children had been so much less fortunate in its development.

I am well aware that progress has been made during the last thirty-four years, both in actual child analysis and in its allied fields, such as in Child Guidance Clinics, progress which has been deeply and variously influenced by the work of Melanie Klein and Anna Freud. To give examples, the range of children who are felt to be suitable for treatment has been extended: play technique is now in general use, though often in a modified form; the importance of interpretations has been widely accepted, and there is a greater recognition of the psycho-analytic approach in the training of child psychotherapists and child psychiatrists.

However, if we examine the position of child analysis in relation to the whole field of psycho-analysis, we see what a small place it occupies, in terms of practice of child analysis, of training, of scientific discussions and publications.

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