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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Weil, A.P. (1973). Ego Strengthening Prior to Analysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 28:287-301.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 28:287-301

Ego Strengthening Prior to Analysis

Annemarie P. Weil, M.D.

SUMMARY

All children benefit from analytic developmental and dynamic understanding, but not all children who come to us benefit from analysis at that time.

I have singled out a group of young children in whom imbalances and ego defects prevail, although they often are amalgamated with and shape neurotic or preneurotic development. For these young children analysis may often not be as effective as other measures at that time. I suggested that such children may become analyzable when given preparatory educational therapeutic help which aims at making up for early interactional failures and at stimulating ego growth and better integration. Some such children show considerable modifiability by such educational therapeutic management. Subsequently, with their more clearly emerging neurotic symptomatology, these children can be more successfully treated with psychoanalysis.

The practical advantages of therapeutic educational work in the beginning is that its influence is extended beyond 50 minutes daily and can be extended over longer stretches of time. These are needed because we know that the ego grows via continuity of relationship. Moreover, it can reach the mother and often give her a better opportunity for identification.

I trust I have made it clear that this ego-growth-promoting work should be done and supervised by someone other than the person who later conducts the analysis.

Our decision and planning should be determined by tracing the facets of failure in interaction and development in each child.

A considerable number of children who have failed in attempted analyses or who used to be considered unanalyzable can be helped by such preliminary work to such marked degree that analysis is possible at a later date.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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