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(1966). Discussion of the Material and of the Changes That Have Taken Place. J. Child Psychother., 1(4):20-31.

(1966). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 1(4):20-31

Discussion of the Material and of the Changes That Have Taken Place

In such cases where the worker sees the child and parents for a few interviews only, it is inevitable that many questions are posed which cannot be answered. Much vitally relevant information remains unknown and the degree or nature of changes may remain more or less obscure. After my first interview with Willie and his parents I had no firm expectation that the situation would improve so dramatically or so soon. My impression was that the relationship between the parents was basically an affectionate one, that despite Mrs. J.'s resentment they were fond of Willie and genuinely concerned about him. I remained quite uncertain as to the degree and extent of Willie's illness, of how much it was a reaction to his mother's depression and how much it was the cause of this depression. Her account of him and my observation of his behaviour, especially the ignoring of myself and for the most part of his parents, suggested a serious degree of emotional and intellectual impairment. On the other hand the twinkle in his eye and the playful little struggle with his father indicated that he was much more observant and in touch than had at first appeared. His behaviour in the following interview confirmed this second impression.

In speculating upon what has happened in the three weeks between the first and second interview I think it is helpful to remember Mrs. J.'s words, “The real difference is that I can get through to him now—I never could before”, and to ask briefly why she managed to get through.

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