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Proner, B.D. (1983). Attacks on Analysis. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(3):213-226.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(3):213-226

Attacks on Analysis

Barry D. Proner, B.A, M.D.

A Feature of child analytic therapy is that actions which replace thought, or reflection, can take a significant, even central position. What may at first glance seem an obnoxious hindrance to analysis is in fact worthy of our careful consideration. The sources and uses of these actions are as necessary to analyse as any words or pictures presented to the therapist. There are many reasons, of course, for their existence and a number of them initially come to mind.

First, there is the problem of symbolising, which children are learning about but have not yet acquired to the degree adults may have. Despite their use of drawing and play materials in treatment, children in analysis do not naturally behave as if they experience the frame as a symbolic world. In other words, the distinction between inner and outer realities is often a fine one, as it is of course with many adults, particularly those in regressed states. In their play children are negotiating this divide between internal and external reality all the time. Jung, in the Foreword to his important paper, Psychic conflicts in a child (JUNG 9), emphasised that childhood sexuality is the predecessor of concept formation, and that conflicts around sexuality can prevent the development of what later came to be called symbol formation (KLEIN 12).

Secondly, there is the fact that ideas and feelings which relate to the analyst, however obscurely, the components that seem to be transferred from living figures in the inner world, seem to me to have a peculiar aspect in childhood.

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