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Gordon, R. (1988). Tustin, Frances. Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients.: London, Karnac Books, 1986. Pp. 326. £19.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 33(1):94-97.

(1988). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 33(1):94-97

Tustin, Frances. Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients.: London, Karnac Books, 1986. Pp. 326. £19.95.

Review by:
Rosemary Gordon

Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients could be thought of as Francis Tustin's third volume in a trilogy on the phenomenon of autism. In 1974 in Autism and Childhood Psychosis she laid the foundation of her thoughts, understanding and definition of autism. She was there particularly concerned to differentiate and classify the varieties of the psychotic states in children. Her second book in 1981, Autistic States in Children, is devoted principally to the study, exploration and discussion of the possible methods and techniques of the psychotherapeutic treatment of autistic children. In Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients (1986), the third book in the trilogy, she uses the discoveries and conceptualisations emerging out of her study and wide clinical experience of childhood psychogenic autism, which she had communicated in the previous two books, to extend them so that their relevance to wider psychopathological conditions becomes evident, useful and enlightening. That this should involve a certain recapitulation of some of the themes and statements in her earlier two books is natural and inevitable; but it does make each of these three books self-contained and self-explanatory.

I want first of all to summarise Tustin's main ideas about autism, its essential characteristics, the factors and situations that seem to have contributed to its development, and the clinical techniques that Tustin has found to be therapeutic and useful.

I will then discuss some of the concepts in analytical psychology that appear to me to be quite particularly relevant to the study of autism, Jungian concepts that seem to impose themselves as one reads Tustin's experience and thinking about autism; these add another dimension to the theoretical framework through which autism can be understood a little further.

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