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Nayar-Akhtar, M. (2015). Prologue: Children in Need: Analysts in Alternative Settings. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(7):663-667.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(7):663-667


Prologue: Children in Need: Analysts in Alternative Settings

Monisha Nayar-Akhtar, Ph.D.


On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.

The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous.

On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances. [Tagore, 1913, pp. 3–4]

The transformation of any idea into a documented body of work, be it in art, music, or a literary treatise, has behind it a long history of germination and focused nurturance. From sparks of early interest, to initial support and later carefully cultivated attention, ideas bear fruit over time. This has been the story of this special issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry. A long history of life events (cultural and familial), thoughtful deliberation, purposeful action, and, ultimately, the tender attention to sporadic bouts of motivation was a journey that culminated in this issue of working with children in need and analysts in alternative settings.

Wilfred Bion’s theory of thinking, perhaps captures best the evolution of this issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry. According to Bion, the mind “grows through exposure to truth” (Symington, 1996, pp. 2–3) and emotional experiences form the basis for mental development and growth. The capacity for thought evolves out of these emotional experiences but thoughts exist prior to the development of a mental apparatus. The capacity for thinking develops in relationship to another mind and is mediated through “maternal reverie” (Bion, 1962, p. 309). One could, therefore, say that, in my mind, this thought evolved through a series of emotional experiences beginning in early childhood and perhaps even prior to that.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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