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Novick, J. Novick, K.K. (2013). Discussion of Alan Sugarman's The Centrality of Beating Fantasies and Wishes in the Analysis of a Three-Year-Old Girl. Psychoanal. Inq., 33(4):368-373.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(4):368-373

Discussion of Alan Sugarman's The Centrality of Beating Fantasies and Wishes in the Analysis of a Three-Year-Old Girl

Jack Novick, Ph.D and Kerry Kelly Novick

In this excellent, vivid account of arduous work with a troubled little girl, Dr. Sugarman speaks primarily to various theoretical questions about development and sadomasochism. We address those later in this discussion. But we think he also makes and illustrates other crucial points about under-fives and about child analysis in general that should be underscored.

Sugarman notes how many central psychoanalytic premises are based on reconstruction from adult analyses, laying analysts open to charges of speculation or fabrication. Child analysis gives solid data concerning the workings of a child's mind, a window into its complexity, and a view of mental structure in statu nascendi. Freud's treatment of Little Hans by analysis via the parent was one such corrective, both confirming some basic analytic assumptions, such as the difference between thought and action, and challenging others, such as the idea of normal omnipotence lasting until adolescence.

In all of our work, we have looked to child and adolescent analysis as a largely untapped resource for insights into general psychoanalytic theory and technique (see, for example, K. K. Novick and Novick, 2002). We assume that there are continuities between the two domains. Just as adult work can demonstrate which childhood influences persist significantly, child work can refine and rework inferences based solely on adult functioning. In an earlier article, Sugarman presented a convincing argument for his contention “that there is no structurally meaningful difference between the analytic process that defines adult psychoanalysis from that which defines child and adolescent analysis so long as one emphasizes the structural phenomena which define that process” (Sugarman, 2009a, p.

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