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Buchholz, E.S. (1994). Introduction. Psychoanal. Psychol., 11(3):305-308.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 11(3):305-308


Ester S. Buchholz, Ph.D.

Child psychoanalysis has turned a corner. What was once labelled the step-child of psychoanalysis is itself a source for adult analytic work (Dowling, 1990). Along with infant research and developmental psychology, child analytic work is accepted and appreciated as offering rich material for theory and practice (Scharfman, 1990). Winnicott, who practiced pediatrics and then child analysis, is highly visible among the most cited theoreticians, regardless of one's analytic orthodoxy. Melanie Klein's ideas about child analysis influenced Winnicott and continue to affect a cadre of adult analysts. Anna Freud's work is the cornerstone of ego psychology. Her additions to the nature of defense operations and analytic technique resulted in major changes in psychoanalysis. Recently, J. Novick and K. K. Novick (1993) reported that Anna Freud believed that all work with children incorporated how children “think, feel and see the world” (p. 54), placing empathy early on at the bedrock of psychoanalytic theory.

It is generally acknowledged that Freud, the father of adult psychoanalysis, was also an early proponent of child analysis. Although analyzing indirectly, through the medium of Little Hans' parents, he set the stage for child analytic work. In his role of grandfather, Freud (1920) was also the first to see the therapeutic value of play. Since the 1920s, when Melanie Klein and Anna Freud dominated the scene of child analysis, the relevance of theories and practice from child work has grown in scope and dimension.

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