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Silber, L.M. (2015). A View from the Margins: Children in Relational Psychoanalysis. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 14(4):345-362.

(2015). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 14(4):345-362


A View from the Margins: Children in Relational Psychoanalysis

Laurel M. Silber, Psy.D.

Classical psychoanalysis segregated the worlds of children from adults for training and professional development. This hierarchical organizational framework remains the same despite a paradigm shift that privileges relationships. The relationship that is not privileged in this organizational structure is the parent-child relationship. This article attempts to expose the explicit and implicit interferences to deconstructing this divide, thereby allowing more access to relational considerations between adults/parents and children within psychoanalysis. Relational work with children and adolescents departs significantly from adult work by moving intersubjectively within and between dyads and triads in the nonlinear dynamic system of the child’s relational context. The developmental and technical similarities and differences across the mutual worlds of child and adult can potentially form rich dialectic exchanges within the relational model. The continued organizational reliance on the division between children and adults, reflected in the procedural life within relational psychoanalysis (e.g., separate training, professional societies, journals) undermines progress, for both the science and people it is to serve.

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