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(1978). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 47:489-490.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 47:489-490

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

March 30, 1976. A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF A PSYCHOTIC CHILD: A FILM. Presented by Dr. Margaret S. Mahler, Dr. Manuel Furer, and Miss Anni Bergmann.

This film records the various phases of treatment of a girl with secondary autism. The treatment had been conducted at the Masters Children's Center and involved the authors' tripartite therapeutic design, in which the child, her mother, and the therapist were present during the sessions four times a week, with each session lasting one and a half hours. The girl had first been seen in intake at the age of two years, seven months, for complaints concerning destructiveness and unmanageability as well as sleep and feeding disturbances. Film sequences from ages three, five, ten, and fifteen years were shown.

The girl was the child of somewhat infantile parents. The girl's mother had been abandoned by her own parents to the care of a sadistic grandmother. When the girl was born, she was looked upon by her mother as an animated doll. When the child was seven weeks of age, the mother became depressed at the death of her own father, and thereafter the mother's sole contact with the child was in breastfeeding, outside of which she was withdrawn from the child. While the girl cried and vocalized in the first nine months of life, by one year she no longer responded to people, and there was a loss of eye contact and smiling. The parents, professional musicians, would lock the girl out of the room as they practiced, to which the girl responded with tantrums and later with attacks on the parents' piano and sheet music.

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