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Davies, M. (1989). The Body in Child Analysis. J. Anal. Psychol., 34(2):129-141.

(1989). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 34(2):129-141

The Body in Child Analysis

Miranda Davies

When I was prevented from reading my short paper called ‘Managing Baby Monkey’ at the Paris-London Workshop in October, 1986, Mara Sidoli read the paper on my behalf, and among the issues that were discussed, there was some puzzlement and anxiety about why I interpreted the boy, Matthew's, genital impulses towards my body; why was it not possible to talk to him at one remove, perhaps by using an imaginative story? I believe that there was some concern that using direct body language would be experienced by the child as an assault on his sensibilities, or an encroachment on his self. I should like to try to clarify the reasons for making such interpretations, and then I shall present some material from my work with a four-year-old boy called Andrew.

Training in Child Analysis

Michael Fordham started the training in child analysis at the Society of Analytical Psychology, London, and was the director of training until 1985; and it is because of his work on extending Jung's ideas about the self and archetypes into childhood that we are now so concerned about babies’ and children's bodies, and the instinctual basis of their body-impulses. Fordham often pointed out that analytical psychologists have a special interest in imagination and fantasy, but, influenced by Jung's depth and breadth of scholarship and his method of comparing myths from many cultures, their interest is oriented in a way that can become disembodied. Partly for that reason he has found the work of Melanie Klein particularly helpful because of her interest in what she called ‘unconscious phantasy’ in children (FORDHAM 4, p. 221). Quite independently of Jung, to whom she never referred, Klein developed ‘the kind of psychology of early childhood that the theory of archetypes would lead us to expect’. (FORDHAM 3, p. 7). Two of her collaborators defined ‘unconscious phantasy’ in terms almost identical with a definition of the archetype used by Jung (Ibid.).

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