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Friedlander, K. (1946). Psychoanalytic Orientation in Child Guidance Work in Great Britain. Psychoanal. St. Child, 2:343-357.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 2:343-357

Psychoanalytic Orientation in Child Guidance Work in Great Britain

Kate Friedlander, M.D.

The purpose of this short communication is to record the theoretical background of the establishment of a child guidance service which allows of the application of psychoanalytical theory and experience to the problems of child guidance work to a larger extent than is usually possible.

Although I am aware that most of the ideas set forth in this paper are not in themselves original, I have not found any stress laid in the literature on the manner in which a service is established in relation to the scientific, more especially psychoanalytical work which can be accomplished within its limits. It therefore seems justifiable to describe the theoretical principles which led to the establishment of this service, although the experiment is too new to prove its value by the results achieved.

From the study of the literature and from my own experience in various child guidance clinics I have come to the conclusion that the most unsatisfactory aspect of child guidance work is the psychotherapeutic treatment of the child. Either there is an indication for child analysis (1), in which case weekly interviews can at best achieve a cessation of symptoms without real change in the libido position and Ego-and Super-Ego distortions; or the disturbance is a more superficial one and it is doubtful whether environmental changes including treatment of the mother or of both parents would not in themselves be sufficient to allow of a more normal development. This dissatisfaction will be felt especially strongly by psychoanalysts who are accustomed to understanding the genetic basis of a disturbance and who ask about the reasons for the disappearance of symptoms and about other changes which may occur.


1 This paper is included in order to permit comparison of one aspect of the present state of child guidance work in Great Britain and in America.

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