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Salomonsson, B. (2004). Some psychoanalytic viewpoints on neuropsychiatric disorders in children. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):117-135.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):117-135

Some psychoanalytic viewpoints on neuropsychiatric disorders in children

Björn Salomonsson

The author addresses issues interfacing neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis. He recommends psychoanalysis for children with Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dysfunction in Attention and activity control, Motility control and Perception (DAMP). He attributes its low status in neuropsychiatric treatment recommendations partly to the fact that psychoanalysts do not always declare their specific field of investigation. The scientific community then assumes that psychoanalysis aims to comment on issues outside its field of investigation, e.g. on neurobiological aetiology. The community therefore fails to discern the psychoanalyst's specific task, to help the child express and work through his conscious and unconscious experiences. Clarity on the analyst's part will improve relations with the scientific community and facilitate a relevant comparison of treatment methods. Another reason for neuropsychiatry's negative attitude towards analysis is its unwillingness to accept that unconscious conflict influences behaviour. With theoretical and clinical arguments, the author argues that unconscious factors must be taken in to understand and to treat the child. Countertransference, often cumbersome with neuropsychiatric children, becomes easier to handle if the analyst is clear about his field of investigation. If he sees through simplistic formulations on aetiology, countertransference gets even more manageable. Psychoanalysis can result in considerable intellectual and emotional development, as illustrated by work with a latency boy with DAMP, autism and slight mental retardation. In his psychoanalytic theoretical framework of the case, the author unites ego-psychological formulations with a Bionian conceptualisation of the thought disturbance.

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