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(2005). Reviews. J. Child Psychother., 31(3):394-405.

(2005). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 31(3):394-405


The Many Faces of Asperger's Syndrome

Maria Rhode and Trudy Klauber (eds)

London: The Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac, 2004

302 pp., £18.99

Much has been written on the topic of autism ever since Kanner and Asperger, each unaware of the work of the other, independently published their clinical observations within a year of each other in 1943 and 1944, respectively. A most striking concomitant of their discoveries has been the degree of clinical interest in the condition, which has continued unabated ever since, despite modest levels of achievement in treating the condition. It cannot be without significance that children in whom there is such a strong aversion to personal contact should stimulate equally strong motivation in their parents and carers to overcome their resistance and restore that personal and uniquely human link, which provides emotional sustenance and satisfaction to both parties. This sustained effort to challenge individuals with autistic characteristics underscores philosophical and psychoanalytic convictions about the significance of primordial sharing experiences as the foundation for human evolution and personality development; the ‘you and I’ unit of personal relatedness (MacMurray, 1961).

It is the ‘you and I’ ‘unit that is scrutinised in the process of psychoanalysis, dependent on but more than, looking at “ways of being with the other” ’ (Fonagy, 1999). But psychoanalytic theory, as the exploratory tool for this method of treatment, is put to the test when one component of the unit is itself problematical.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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