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Aldridge, M. (1959). The Birth of the Black and White Twins. J. Anal. Psychol., 4(1):55-62.

(1959). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 4(1):55-62

The Birth of the Black and White Twins

M. Aldridge

This paper was born, like the twins in the case history that follows, out of a need to extricate myself from the fascination of the material presented by an autistic girl of eleven in her first five sessions. I was immediately stimulated by this child because she plunged head-first into the unconscious in the initial interview, leaving me no choice but to follow her. Both Fordham and Rodrigué comment on the fascination of such children and describe how their isolation can act as a magnet, pulling the people who are concerned with them—whether they be parents, teachers, or therapists—into their autistic orbit. And Rodrigué (1955, p. 179) asks if the ultimate content of this inner world of love and harmony—a bountiful, everlasting, ever-present breast—is the ideal object which so often creates the autistic child's beauty. In my patient's case the beauty was absent, although the self-sufficiency and inaccessibility so often noted were both evident. There was no love in her inner world but instead a kind of horrific harmony. It now seems to me that M. (as we shall call her) might fall into the category of those patients who build up their defences against too violent pressure from archetypal forces by an identification with the archetype of order (Metman, 1956, p. 167).

I was at first puzzled by M.'s spontaneous trust in my capacity to participate in her inner world and still more puzzled by my immediate response. It was as though she drew me through a gateway into a strange and unknown country and that once inside I found no difficulty in understanding the language. At the time it seemed, not as though I took her inside me, but that she took me inside her. How did she know that she could trust me with this secret life? Did she tune into a part of my unconscious of which I was yet unaware? What did become clear, however, was the way in which the self was functioning in the first phase of treatment. This was manifest in the sudden spontaneous psychic activity which seized upon M. as soon as she entered the playroom; by her state of absorption and concentration at times bordering on inflation; by the numinous nature of the archetypal images in her inner world; and by the continuity of the theme despite gaps of a week between sessions. Marion Milner (1955, p.

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