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Urban, E. (1996). Michael Fordham, Children as Individuals, London: Free Association Books, 1994. 184 pp., £15.95.. J. Child Psychother., 22(1):153-156.

(1996). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 22(1):153-156

Michael Fordham, Children as Individuals, London: Free Association Books, 1994. 184 pp., £15.95.

Reviewed by
Elizabeth Urban

By the time I started child analytic training, Dr Fordham had semi-retired to his house in Jordans, where for almost twelve years I spent an hour on Friday afternoons. His consulting room had an air of worn comfort that was conducive to a good think. Near the centre was his wingback chair, into which he would settle, surrounded by books and other paraphernalia of his work. On a small table next to him rested an ashtray and a pipe, which he packed, lit, puffed and cleaned out while he listened, thought and spoke. Incongruent with the general atmosphere were the words etched on the filing cabinet, ‘Dr Fordham is a nit face’. They were written by his last child patient, whom he saw when he was nearing 80, five decades after he started his career in child analysis.

The year before Fordham died, the last revision of his first book was published, bringing up to date over sixty years of his thinking about children. If the 1994 edition of Children as Individuals is viewed in relation to the preceding 1944 and 1969 editions, one can see the development of Fordham's thought over his long and productive life, making the historical significance of this volume beyond question.

Fordham entered child psychiatry quite by chance, and at a time when he began to think of himself as a Jungian. When he faced the task of developing an approach to the treatment of children, he had to till new ground.

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