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Maenchen, A. (1984). The Handling of Overt Aggression in Child Analysis. Psychoanal. St. Child, 39:393-405.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 39:393-405

The Handling of Overt Aggression in Child Analysis

Anna Maenchen, Ph.D.


In this paper I discussed different ways of handling overt aggression in child analysis. After quoting cases from the sparse

literature, I presented the case of an extremely aggressive latency child where it became necessary to stop the girl's destructiveness and set clear and reasonable limits before the analysis could proceed. After this "confrontation" the girl began to assault me verbally—a very important step forward. It reminded me of Freud (1893) quoting a witty remark of an English writer: "the man who first flung a word of abuse at his enemy instead of a spear was the founder of civilization" (p. 36). In the case I presented, we have to paraphrase this and say that she became accessible to analytic work once she had made the step "from the fist to the word of abuse."

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