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Abrams, S. (1999). How Child and Adult Analysis Inform And Misinform One Another. Ann. Psychoanal., 26:3-20.

(1999). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 26:3-20

I The Annual Prize Paper: The Psychoanalyst as Clinician

How Child and Adult Analysis Inform And Misinform One Another

Samuel Abrams, M.D.

My essay is in the form of an exchange between two other analysts and me. The first analyst is a respected classicist acknowledged for his contributions to theory. He works exclusively with adults and has a well-deserved reputation for effective results. The second is a woman, principally recognized for her clinical work with children. Her results are equally admirable, although it has been said that her interest in the children she treats often overshadows her concern with technical niceties. They have both agreed to help me prepare this essay with the title, “How Child and Adult Analysis Inform and Misinform One Another.”

Our exchange begins with each of them reproaching me for the title for overlapping reasons.

In a tone that is ironic, pedagogic, and somewhat autocratic all at once, the adult analyst declares that such a title has a “scope” problem, the subject matter is simply too broad. He continues,

What, for example, do you mean by “analysis”? No reasonably sophisticated audience agrees on what that process consists of in adults these days, much less in children.

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