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Freud, A. (1945). Indications for Child Analysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 1:127-149.

(1945). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1:127-149


Indications for Child Analysis

Anna Freud


Since 1905, when a phobia in a five-year-old boy was first treated by psychoanalysis, the father acting as intermediary between child and analyst, child analysis as a therapeutic method has had a stormy and checkered career. There is hardly a detail that has remained uncontested, that has not at some time become the starting-point for controversy.

In some respects child analysis revived the same objections that the psychoanalytic treatment of adults had to meet and overcome a full decade earlier.

1. The sexual prejudice

At the end of the last century the conception of a sexual origin of adult neurosis ran counter to all the current prejudices. However, no one went so far as to deny altogether the existence of adult sexuality, although medical and lay opinion failed to concede it the importance it deserved. On the other hand, everyone violently objected to the possible existence of a sexual life in childhood. Psychoanalysis had laid itself open to the reproach of over-estimating the role of sexuality in the adult and to a similar charge of inventing an infantile sex life, contrary to the fact then known and accepted by physicians and educators. Thus the existence of an infantile sexuality had to be established and proved at the same time that its importance in the development of the neuroses of childhood had to be demonstrated.

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