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Bartram, P. (2003). Some Oedipal Problems in Work with Adopted Children and their Parents. J. Child Psychother., 29(1):21-36.

(2003). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 29(1):21-36

Some Oedipal Problems in Work with Adopted Children and their Parents

Pamela Bartram

This paper has two main theses. Firstly that Oedipal material is a particular feature of clinical work with adopted children; secondly, that the concept of developmental deficit, and not only that of psychic defence, is essential to an understanding of this aspect of the work with adopted children and their families. Three levels are distinguished at which Oedipal difficulties are manifest: the first two within the individual child and the third within the triangle formed by the child, his adoptive parents and the child psychotherapist. Some consideration is given to the limitations of a conventional treatment framework for containing the powerful Oedipal dynamic forces at play when an adopted child is a patient in individual psychotherapy.

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