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Katan, A. (1961). Some Thoughts about the Role of Verbalization in Early Childhood. Psychoanal. St. Child, 16:184-188.

(1961). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16:184-188

Some Thoughts about the Role of Verbalization in Early Childhood

Anny Katan, M.D.

Piaget (1923) and Karl Bühler (1934) have explored the development of language, a theme very much neglected by analysts so far; Heinz Hartmann touched upon the subject of verbalization in his article "Technical Implications of Ego Psychology" (1951); and Loewenstein, in his paper "Some Remarks on the Role of Speech in Psycho-analytic Technique" (1956), has explored the importance of verbal communication in the psychoanalytic situation.

These, however, are not the themes of my paper. This paper is limited to the role that verbalization plays in early child development, emphasizing specifically the importance of the verbalization of feelings by the very young child.

It has been my experience with children between three and five years of age that a number of them needed treatment badly but were so lacking in speech, and sometimes in other ways of communication as well, that they could not express themselves in treatment. We decided that these children needed preparation in this area before treatment could be started. Although of course this task could have been accomplished by the therapist, we thought it could also be accomplished by the combined efforts of teachers and parents. Whereas a therapist would have had to spend one hour daily over a long period of time in such preparation, this work could be done just as well or better when it was extended over the whole day and was done by teachers, parents, etc.

Verbalization is considered by us a part of general education, and therefore it need not be confined to the analytic hour.

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