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Hours, A. Mayers, L.A. (2017). Finding a Path toward Re-Enchantment in Contexts of Child Maltreatment. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 16(3):198-205.

(2017). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 16(3):198-205

Finding a Path toward Re-Enchantment in Contexts of Child Maltreatment

Armelle Hours, M.D. and Linda A. Mayers, Ph.D.

Children’s stories try to provide the possibility of an experience of enchantment through reading or being read to, if the child is able to actively participate in the story. However, this access is not guaranteed, especially if the child is plunged into a traumatic atmosphere which can provoke a regression, even when the psyche is in the process of construction. The concept of the role of the helpful person in the child’s earliest developmental stage, elucidated in Chapter 11 of Freud’s prepsychoanalytic Project for a Scientific Psychology (1895), led us to believe in this text as a pioneering contribution to the theoretical and clinical underpinnings of child psychoanalysis and was particularly important in helping us to conceptualize the case material presented. We discuss the fundamental role of the helpful person, particularly how this person can help in creating a narrative which can impact the reconstruction and restoration of the psyche, using the possibilities offered by analytic group work with abused children. We consider that a safe container, an envelope, allows a space for psychic elaboration and for symbolization and show how the therapeutic group offered containment that allowed the patient to rediscover the function of the helping person.

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