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Tuters, E.A. (2006). Association For Child Psychoanalysis Panel on Children. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(3):843-844.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(3):843-844

Association For Child Psychoanalysis Panel on Children

Reported by:
Elizabeth A. Tuters

Moderated by:
Ana Rosenbaum De Schvartzman

Two analysts who work with children from different psychoanalytic traditions each presented a clinical case vignette, followed by a discussant with a different theoretical/cultural perspective. Our aim was to show the way we work with children who use play/words to both communicate and control their trauma and ensuing developmental struggles with a focus on the interface of transference/ countertransference. Participant discussion was encouraged.

Two 5/6 year-old boys were presented with a brief background and details from two sessions.

The first case, seen four times weekly, was presented by Stephanie Smith in a playful way, giving the audience an appreciation of the way the psychoanalyst worked with the child through the child's construction of play themes, to give the child an opportunity to show and tell the analyst how his mind works. Stephanie Smith allowed the child to present his material in whatever way was available to him, through play themes and toys, including a tape recorder to tell his story.

Esperanza Perez de Pla, the discussant, focused on what important data had been omitted, namely the subjective states of the psychoanalyst, and her counter-transference reactions. She thought the details about the child's first year of life and an understanding of the complexity of the parents’ feeling states with respect to their child were missing. The discussant suggested the ambivalence was intense for both parents and for the psychoanalyst, and wondered if the analyst was involved in a sadistic enactment of the complexity of the child's relationship identification with his mother.

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