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Hellman, I. (1954). Some Observations on Mothers of Children with Intellectual Inhibitions. Psychoanal. St. Child, 9:259-273.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 9:259-273

Some Observations on Mothers of Children with Intellectual Inhibitions

Ilse Hellman

The observations I shall be discussing have not been collected systematically with the intention of doing research on the subject. They have been gained, as we usually gain material in psychoanalytic work, from cases which have come to us by chance, at intervals of several years.

In recent years our interest is turning more and more toward the relation existing between the child's disturbance and certain features of the parents, especially the mother, by which the child has been affected from his earliest days onwards. Simultaneous analysis of mother and child is beginning to give us more detailed insight into the interplay between them. So far, unfortunately, it is rare to have the opportunity of working on analytic material of both mother and child.

No analytic material is available of the mothers I shall be describing. One of them has been in analysis for some time but broke it off and her analyst, who has left the country, told me only a few details at the time. My direct knowledge of the mothers is confined to the talks I have had with them at varying intervals during their children's treatment in the course of two to three years. I have also used information gained from their husbands, where they were available, and of course from the children's analyses.

So far I have studied three cases in detail. A further case which I have supervised, namely the case I have published with Ivy Bennett (1951), shows close similarities. Comparison of these cases, which present similar clinical pictures, show a number of striking similarities in the children's mothers.

I first want to give a brief description of the children. At the time when they came for treatment Jimmy was eight years old, Nicky was eleven, and Bettina twelve.

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