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Kronengold, H. (2010). A Walk in the Woods: Reply to Carnochan, First, Lang, & Warshaw. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 9(1):41-45.
(2010). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 9(1):41-45
A Walk in the Woods: Reply to Carnochan, First, Lang, & Warshaw
Henry Kronengold, Ph.D.
I'd like to thank Elsa First and Drs. Peter Carnochan, Jo Lang, and Susan Warshaw for taking the time to so thoughtfully read and discuss this case. I am equally grateful to Dr. Chris Bonovitz, this issue's guest editor, for the opportunity to present the case of Abby in these pages. I'm afraid my response will do a disservice to the rich commentary offered by my discussants, as each retelling warrants a paper in and of itself, making me wish for a more interactive conversation than to this brief reply. That said, I'd like to touch on a few of the salient clinical points that emerge from discussion.
First and Carnochan both draw from Ferro's reflections on the encounter between child and therapist. A case from Ferro (1999) comes to mind in his discussion of a young girl, Francesca, who drew pictures in his office of a forest, called the wood. Ferro talks of looking at Francesca's drawing and holding back from prematurely determining its meaning so that he can come closer to the child's point of view.
Once I loosen the ties to my theoretical referents, I begin to sense the risk of getting lost. ‘Weak’ models expose us to the fear of thinking and finding ourselves alone in the wood, whereas ‘strong’ models would make us feel safe, but they would allow us to see in the wood only what the models themselves had already prefigured” (p. 27).
To borrow from Ferro, a walk in the woods can describe our work in therapy, and it can also describe our work with our colleagues.
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