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Staub, H. (1943). A Runaway from Home. Psychoanal Q., 12:1-22.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:1-22

A Runaway from Home

Hugo Staub


The technique of dealing with juvenile delinquents requires a preparatory period in which the analyst has to be active in order (a) to gain confidence for establishing a strong, positive transference; (b) to drain off the excess of anxiety; (c) to fortify the badly damaged self-confidence, and permit the controlling and restraining forces of the ego to operate. This accomplished, the usual technique of psychoanalysis is then employed.

Society's present method of mishandling these cases reflects the total psychological blindness and prejudice which characterize its approach to the treatment of all criminal offenders. Boys are pursued by the police, usually handcuffed when apprehended, thrown into jail with drunkards and habitual criminals, then exposed to the strange ritual of court procedure which they do not understand, and which does not understand them. So they are forced into attitudes of obstinacy and bitterness, and the chief accomplishment of the costly machinery of law enforcement is that it becomes an efficient mill which grinds out more and more criminals.

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