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Freeden, I. (2002). A Troll in the Consulting Room. Brit. J. Psychother., 19(2):189-202.

(2002). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 19(2):189-202

A Troll in the Consulting Room

Irene Freeden

Taking Ibsen's tale of Peer Gynt as a framework, this paper presents an account of the psychotherapy of two patients. The first, a beautiful young woman, initially profoundly distressed, frightened and confused, who found the pressure of her studies overwhelming, has been enabled through her treatment to lead a successful academic and social life. However, the psychopathic nature of her relationship to objects has not been modified, nor has her personality become integrated, exposing the complex issue of limits in psychoanalytic treatment. The second is a post-autistic girl who has made considerable developmental progress. From being a wild animal-like child, she has blossomed into a passionate, responsive girl despite very severe intellectual and behavioural limitations. She is now capable of much more open and sincere emotional contact. Although there is a wide oscillation in her moods, they can be definitely described as L, H and K (rather than -L, -H and -K of the first patient) pace Bion.

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