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Slater, P. (2014). How much is too much? Understanding the role and function of violence and its manifestation in the consulting room: intensive psychotherapy with a latency-aged boy. J. Child Psychother., 40(2):150-172.

(2014). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 40(2):150-172

How much is too much? Understanding the role and function of violence and its manifestation in the consulting room: intensive psychotherapy with a latency-aged boy

Peter Slater

The aim of this article is to explore and lend meaning to the role and function of violence in children, in particular boys, who have had disturbing and traumatic early experiences. Psychoanalytic thinking about the role and function of violence, as well as its impact and management in the consulting room, will be central features of this exploration. In a research project involving a single case study, a number of clinical concepts emerged that have potential ramifications for child psychotherapists working with children exhibiting violent and challenging behaviour. The clinical concepts emerged via the application of grounded theory research methodology to clinical data and contribute to the thinking and theory of Meltzer’s use of ‘temperature and distance’ as a means of understanding and regulating emotional states in the therapeutic setting. ‘Time’ and ‘space’ were additional clinical concepts that emerged. These four concepts are considered crucial elements in providing the child psychotherapist with the means to apply transformative and modifying processes to the un-processed and raw externalisation of primitive, violent impulses.

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