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Buxbaum, E. (1977). Kinder Beim Analytiker. Erziehungsprobleme Und Therapie (Children at the Analyst's. Problems of Rearing and Therapy): By Jacques Berna. Munich: R. Piper & Co. Verlag, 1973. 223 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 46:168-170.
(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:168-170
Kinder Beim Analytiker. Erziehungsprobleme Und Therapie (Children at the Analyst's. Problems of Rearing and Therapy): By Jacques Berna. Munich: R. Piper & Co. Verlag, 1973. 223 pp.
Review by: Edith Buxbaum
Jacques Berna's book is divided into two parts, one titled "Early Techniques," and the other, "Ego Psychology." The two sections could be said to correspond to "before" and "after" Berna's "conversion." He characterizes the change in his approach as follows:
At the beginning of my child analytic activity I used to play and act with the child, often acting the role of the clown, the clumsy adult who founders on the malice of the object. This attitude of mine has been almost fundamentally changed. I do not need to interfere actively in the play any more but can instead follow the fantasies of the child with the free floating attention of the analyst. I can watch the child's play and behavior, can concentrate upon the verbal communication and connect the analytic material, i.e., prepare the work of interpretation. The production of the child is not influenced by my role any more, the transference reactions are less disturbed than previously when I was the partner in a magic, extraverbal fantasy world (p. 169).
Ruefully Berna says at one point, "Today we have lost much of the verve and confidence with which the pioneers did analysis" (p. 125).
Part I of the book, describing the techniques Berna used before becoming acquainted with ego and defense analysis, is amusing, interesting, and written in a sort of combative tone. He debates Anna Freud, at times in a somewhat quixotic way. However, this section is original and imaginative; it is obvious that working with children was as amusing for the author as it is for us to read about it,
All that is gone in the second section.
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