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Rocha Barros, E.M. (1996). Panel Report: Addressing The Psychic Reality Of The Borderline Child: Chaired by J. F. CHUSED, Washington DC. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:107-110.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:107-110

Panel Report: Addressing The Psychic Reality Of The Borderline Child: Chaired by J. F. CHUSED, Washington DC

Elias Mallet Da Rocha Barros, []

The Chairman opened the session with the comment that: ‘The children we see analytically usually do not understand subjectivity; even less do they understand how the world is created intersubjectively. For these children, the world is as they perceive it. So the first difficulty in addressing the psychic reality of the child, particularly the more disturbed child, is that it is often the only reality he knows’.

In this context the central question is what kind of framework we use to attribute meaning to the way borderline children communicate, since they are often oriented only by their psychic reality. She said: ‘every component of communication is a potential organiser of transference perceptions … As an analyst joins a child in his play, he joins him in a symbolic representation of his world, in which dangers and pleasures are presented and represented, experienced and discussed, without dire consequences, until analyst and child can begin to understand why the world is seen as it is … and how else it might be’.

Technically, the question becomes how to address the psychic reality of these children by communicating an acceptance of it and a willingness to understand it rather than a desire to change it.

The first panellist, Yecheskiel Cohen, suggested that it was helpful to differentiate between two clusters of pathologies among children: one that is conflict-ridden and another that revolves around an arrested development.

He said that while trying to communicate to the child his/her understanding of psychic reality, the therapist has to fulfil a two-fold interdependent role.

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