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Freud, A. (1977). Fears, Anxieties, and Phobic Phenomena. Psychoanal. St. Child, 32:85-90.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 32:85-90

Fears, Anxieties, and Phobic Phenomena

Anna Freud

IT IS THE PRIVILEGE OF AGE TO VIEW PRESENT HAPPENINGS IN THE light of past experience. This explains why it is natural for me to contrast the present picture of the child-analytic movement with its modest beginnings. Whereas discussion groups then were content with no more than 10 or 12 members, they now have increased to well above 50 times that number; whereas then child analysis was considered the domain of women—probably because in early times it was regarded simply as play therapy—the seriousness of the venture and of its problems has not failed to attract a considerable number of male analysts. It remains an open question, however, whether these very obvious material changes are matched by an equally impressive increase in knowledge; how far our insight into normal and abnormal development has deepened in the intervening years; whether the technique of child-analytic therapy has improved and, with it, its results; whether we have become more accurate in diagnosing disturbances and more skilled in applying knowledge to the areas of upbringing and prevention of mental disorders. I believe that all of us welcome the opportunity to test the answers to these queries against the background of the specific clinical topic chosen for this symposium.


The author is director of the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic which is at present supported by the Field Foundation, Inc., New York; the Freud Centenary Fund, London; the Anna Freud Foundation, New York; the National Institute for Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland; the New-Land Foundation, Inc., New York; and a number of private supporters.

Summary remarks presented at the meeting of the Association for Child Psychoanalysis, London, July 1976.

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