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Olch, G.B. (1971). Technical Problems in the Analysis of the Preoedipal and Preschool Child. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 19:543-551.

(1971). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 19:543-551

Technical Problems in the Analysis of the Preoedipal and Preschool Child

Gerald B. Olch, M.D.

Anna Maenchen opened the meeting, stating that it was possibly the first time a panel has been held on the topic of "Technical Problems in the Analysis of the Preoedipal and Preschool Child." She noted that although analysis of the preoedipal child has been practiced sporadically for over 50 years, it was generally frowned upon. Even some child analysts have questioned whether it was "analysis proper" because of such issues as the distinction between developmental distress and infantile neurosis, as well as the difference between educational interventions and proper analytic technique.

Now preschool children are analyzed more frequently. All the themes of child analysis are found in their treatment, although only the beginning of the oedipal theme is observed. Because of the flexibility of the personality, results are relatively rapid and striking even when the symptoms are severe.

Maenchen anticipated that the word "parameter" would enter the discussion because the analytic situation offers unplanned gratifications which are not easily evaluated. The planned provision of child analysis is for a controlled situation for play and fantasy. This permits of some gratification, making it easier for the child to give up a wish and accept frustrations which are unavoidable. Perhaps the term "parameter" should not be used at all and be replaced by "adaptation," as has been suggested.

Maenchen described two trends in the termination of child analysis. In one, the analysis is prolonged to secure the achieved structural changes. In the other, analysis is not prolonged so as not to deplete the ego of energies needed for developmental tasks, especially once latency is reached.

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