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Freud, A. (1951). Observations on Child Development. Psychoanal. St. Child, 6:18-30.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 6:18-30

Observations on Child Development

Anna Freud

In a stimulating introduction to this symposium, Ernst Kris has set up the framework within which an interchange of ideas about current problems in psychoanalytic child psychology may prove fruitful. Since may own contribution to the discussion refers to a piece of direct observation of young children carried out in the Hampstead Nurseries during the war, I am particularly grateful to him for his remarks concerning work of this nature. For the psychoanalyst who deals habitually with latent, repressed and unconscious material, which has to be drawn into consciousness by the laborious means of the analytic technique, a shift of interest to the observation of manifest, overt behavior marks a step which is not undertaken without misgivings. As psychoanalysts we are not interested in behavioristic data for their own sake. We ask ourselves whether observational work outside of the analytic setting can ever lead to new discoveries about underlying trends and processes, and can thereby supplement the data gathered through the analyses of adults and children. It is therefore helpful to be reminded that the origin of our analytic knowledge of children is not as exclusively centered in the analytic situation between analyst and patient as we are inclined to believe sometimes. It is true that the basic data concerning the phases of libido development and the oedipus and castration complex were extracted during the psychoanalytic exploration of normal, neurotic or psychotic adults and children, i.

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