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Friend, M.R. (1956). Panel Reports—On Sleep Disturbances in Children. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:514-525.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:514-525

Panel Reports—On Sleep Disturbances in Children

Maurice R. Friend, M.D.

The last symposium on sleep disturbances was held September 14, 1940 in California. Dr. Otto Fenichel was Chairman and Dr. Anna Maenchen participated in both the original panel and the present one. Dr. Ernst Simmel, in that early discussion, thought it an excellent idea to have further discussions on the subject of sleep disturbances, not merely because of the theoretical interest in neurotic symptoms but "the capacity for sleep as a psychobiological function operates as a means of helping the ego to establish and keep up its instinctual equilibrium." He further stated "schizophrenia may be viewed as a disturbance of the waking condition on a grand scale, " which was followed up in this present meeting by trenchant observations. The utilization of observational approaches in the young infant through the two-year-old seemed to afford new material to the long-neglected theme of sleep disturbances. This panel appeared to many of the participants to be a start in pooling knowledge. Further conferences on this subject could be profitably held sooner than another fifteen-year interval.

The Chairman, Margaret S. Mahler, opened the meeting by pointing out that sleep as a psychophysiological mechanism was not Freud's prime concern—it was the dream that overshadowed consideration of the setting in which it occurred. She pointed out that research in child development and child analysis, just as in physiology, affords little knowledge of normal patterns of the sleep cycle or of its individual variations at various ages.

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