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Freud, A. (1968). Indications and Contraindications for Child Analysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 23:37-46.

(1968). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 23:37-46

Indications and Contraindications for Child Analysis

Anna Freud

In a paper on "Indications for Child Analysis," written and published in 1945, I made the attempt "to find indications for the therapeutic use of child analysis not so much in the neurotic manifestations themselves as in the bearing of these manifestations on the maturation process within the individual child" (p. 148f.). Thereby I shifted the emphasis from the purely clinical and pathological features of a case to its developmental aspects, with the clear intention to let the latter be decisive for either the recommendation for or the recommendation against analysis. It seems to me the proper time to re-examine this precept, after more than twenty years of its use in private as well as in clinic practice.


We have all learned to recognize as obstacles to personality growth of an individual child the conflicts raging between the different agencies of his internal structure, i.e., processes which consume the energy at the disposal of the person instead of leaving it available for the various tasks of life; unsuitable defenses against drive activity which cripple the efficiency of the ego and restrict its sphere of influence; anxieties which at their height create an inner atmosphere unfavorable for the smooth unfolding of important ego functions; fixations of large quantities of libido on early developmental stages which impoverish further psychosexual advance; regressive moves in the area of either drives or ego which undo development; severe repression of aggression which limits any kind of productive activity.

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