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Maenchen, A. (1970). On the Technique of Child Analysis in Relation to Stages of Development. Psychoanal. St. Child, 25:175-208.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25:175-208

On the Technique of Child Analysis in Relation to Stages of Development

Anna Maenchen, Ph.D.

The technique of child analysis has from its inception always been concerned with development in general. In recent years, however, there has been a tendency to evolve specific techniques geared to specific developmental stages such as prelatency, latency (subdivided into two groups or even into three groups), preadolescence, and adolescence (again subdivided). It seems to me that the growing concern with this issue possibly stems from the application of child analysis to psychotic and borderline children who defy orderly age and developmental categories—and thus also the usual technique of child analysis. We always assumed that once the developmental phases were thoroughly explored, it would be easy to gear the technique to the requirements of each stage. Now the normal developmental stages have been explored, but we still have concerns. When we ask how old the child is, we state his developmental age, but certain syndromes and certain arrests in development are related neither to the chronological age of the child nor to the usual developmental sequences.

Historically, child analysis started as a modified technique of adult analysis, the modifications being necessitated by the immaturity of the child's ego.

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