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Beaumont, M. (2004). 3. Brief Work in Educational Therapy to Resolve Issues of Loss and Failure of Containment. Brit. J. Psychother., 21(1):22-29.

(2004). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 21(1):22-29

3. Brief Work in Educational Therapy to Resolve Issues of Loss and Failure of Containment

Mia Beaumont

Educational therapy is a specialized intervention which makes use of psychoanalytic insights to help children unravel their deep-seated reasons for not learning. Treatment normally takes place over four terms or more. When asked to see Jackson for a meagre seven sessions, for reasons of economics, I was sceptical that there would be any major shift in his view of himself and consequently in his behaviour.

Vignette: Jackson

He arrived ten minutes early and, when I went into the waiting room, he was snuggled up to his mother, leaning over her shoulder, looking at Cosmopolitan magazine. He glanced at me when I said ‘hello’ and then turned back. His mother got up and said, ‘Off you go. Be good for Mrs Beaumont. I'll see you later.’ And she hurriedly left the building.

Jackson walked ahead of me up the stairs, with a heavy tread and his feet turned outwards. As he entered, he gave the sand-pit a cursory glance and sat down. He turned to look at me, giving a half-smile, and then turned away. I said, ‘How's things?’

‘Fine’, he replied and looked at his drawing book, flicking the pages open and fiddling with the pens.

‘I've a feeling that you might like to draw a picture?’

Jackson gave a nod but sat with his hands still.

‘Maybe you would like to do a squiggle again?’

Again he nodded and produced two colours, giving me the blue. I closed my eyes and drew a blue line. He looked at it for a moment and decided instantly what to draw.

‘It's a bear,’ he said. ‘But this line is long because it went down here.’

‘Because I'd made a long line?’

‘Yes. It's only got a little tail.’

‘Is that because it's a little bear?’

‘No, it's a grown-up bear in the jungle.’

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