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Fusacchia, M.G. (2005). Il viaggio con i bambini nella psicoterapia [The psychotherapeutic journey with children] By Maria Luisa Algini Rome: Borla, 2004. 214 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(5):1501-1505.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(5):1501-1505

Il viaggio con i bambini nella psicoterapia [The psychotherapeutic journey with children] By Maria Luisa Algini Rome: Borla, 2004. 214 pp.

Review by:
Maria Grazia Fusacchia

Maria Luisa Algini proposes a tempting journey for us in this book which is creative and completely original within its genre. It is original in terms of the readership it addresses: those singled out in particular are parents, teachers and all those who work with children. It is to these people that Algini turns to open a dialogue on the subject of treatment—that is, child psychoanalytic psychotherapy, which, even now, is still enveloped in an aura of mystery, if not of anxiety or positive suspicion.

The freshness and lightness of the narrative style make these pages easy to read, so much so that readers might almost feel that they are engrossed in a marvellous story which moves in two directions, looking back to the origins, and, with curiosity, forward to the future. Furthermore, the intensely evocative language used at some points rises to a poetic level so as to soften or dilute the theoretical expressions which are often a bit tough or difficult for a wider audience to understand.

‘The journey’ in the title is pertinent: it is an allegory which, from ancient times, has captured the human imagination. It calls to mind mythological stories, ancient legends, religious traditions and literature. Just think of the character of Ulysses, or think of Dante, to cite some of the best-known examples. The journey is also a fitting metaphor to capture the nature of the clinical psychoanalytic experience which, to describe it in Algini's words, is

a dynamic experience, a movement in space and in time. It involves departures, periods in transit, stops, anxieties about a destination, prearranged and made-up itineraries, planned and unplanned means of getting to a new place, periods of waiting, periods of movement and pauses (p. 34).

The introduction by Dina Vallino, a child psychoanalyst, suggests in a few short passages what kind of psychic and relational matters are about to be explored, and what kind of emotional atmosphere will envelop the reader.

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