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Anzieu-Premmereur, C. (2008). Monster Business Is Psychoanalysis Business: How Toddlers and Young Children in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Learn to Contain Their Fears. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 7(3-4):158-164.

(2008). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 7(3-4):158-164

Monster Business Is Psychoanalysis Business: How Toddlers and Young Children in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Learn to Contain Their Fears

Christine Anzieu-Premmereur, MD and Ph.D.

Introduction

“THE MONSTER HAD BLACK HAIR, DARK EYES AND BLACK GLASSES, and huge teeth made to eat kids, like you, Dr Anzieu!” said Thomas, a 5-year-old terrified boy who cannot sleep anymore since he saw a monster in his closet. The same day he also had seen his mother breastfeeding his newborn sister.

I became the black witch who dreamed of eating Thomas when, through his positive transference with me, he was able to make a picture of his fears. And we played for weeks at chasing each other. It was a good play since Thomas didn't have any ability to play before coming into therapy.

The contemporary clinical work with children shows the increasing of behavioral problems and symptoms that the psychoanalysts understand as a failure in the early symbolization process. The psychic functioning in the young child lacks the possibility for representation, with all the consequences on separation issues, when the absent mother cannot be represented in the child's mind, and the consequences on the figuration of the anxieties, when fear, distress, and anguish cannot be organized through representations and symbolizations.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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