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Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: Some Considerations on the Difficulties of Psychoanalysis of Borderline Children. Francisco Palacio Espasa. Pp. 1399-1412.. Psychoanal Q., 61:145.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: Some Considerations on the Difficulties of Psychoanalysis of Borderline Children. Francisco Palacio Espasa. Pp. 1399-1412.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:145

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984: Some Considerations on the Difficulties of Psychoanalysis of Borderline Children. Francisco Palacio Espasa. Pp. 1399-1412.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

Espasa presents a Kleinian view of the psychoanalysis of children. Many children who come to treatment receive brief or limited psychotherapy rather than psychoanalysis. Because the sessions are limited in number and frequency, the content of the transference is limited also. The focus tends to be on a certain number of fantasies considered to be responsible for the symptomatology. Although the notion of transference itself is too limited a concept to explain what happens in an analysis, it can be very useful in these limited psychotherapies, and the focus on central conflicts may make the therapy quite helpful to children with limited pathology. Psychoanalysis now tends to be used only for children with defects in their neurotic organization, or with a very labile neurotic organization. This once prompted Diatkine to comment that the primary indication for the psychoanalysis of children is a prepsychotic level of functioning. It is important to make clear the differences between neurotic functioning and the functioning of children with more severe pathology, for this has technical consequences. The difference is primarily in the elaboration of the depressive position. This is considerable in neurotic children, permitting their fantasy life to be expressed through a system of representations of the surrounding world and themselves, especially their bodies, thanks to the capacity for symbol formation. "Borderline" children have had access to a depressive organization, but the importance of aggressive fantasies against the primitive fantasy objects causes the depressive anxiety to take catastrophic forms. These anxieties involve fantasies of the destruction of objects, and affect the continuity and integrity of the ego. In the best cases there is a usual level of functioning by secondary process, with intrusion of very poorly symbolized archaic fantasies of destruction and persecution. In other cases the experience of the destruction of internal objects is accompanied by a disintegration of the ego which is identified with them. This leads to a massive inhibition in the capacity for symbolization and even of representation, with disturbances in the autonomous ego functioning of language and intelligence. The author concludes with case material illustrative of the treatment of such borderline children.


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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVIII, 1984. Psychoanal. Q., 61:145

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.