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Buxbaum, E. (1950). Children in Conflict. Twelve Years of Psychoanalytic Practice: By Madeleine L. Rambert. Preface by Jean Piaget. New York: International Universities Press, 1949. 214 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:429-431.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:429-431

Children in Conflict. Twelve Years of Psychoanalytic Practice: By Madeleine L. Rambert. Preface by Jean Piaget. New York: International Universities Press, 1949. 214 pp.

Review by:
Edith Buxbaum

This book was written to explain child analysis to parents and teachers. It does so admirably. It would be too bad, however, if analysts of both adults and children should miss reading this book. It is full of interesting material, giving insight into the neurotic child, its conflicts and struggles; it also opens the door of the therapist's office, allowing the reader to observe Mlle. Rambert at work. She says somewhere that 'to understand another human being … is not only scientific work, but an art'. In reading this book, one feels time and again the admiration which one usually reserves for artists. Her intuition, her tact and her forthright courage in dealing with her patients are a rare combination. The atmosphere is one of complete tolerance, love and understanding. She takes parents into her confidence, if she can, and deals with them as she finds it necessary. Sometimes she finds no coöperation and then either seeks to remove the child from the home or resigns herself to the fact that this is all she can do for the child at present and that her patient may need treatment after adolescence. Treatment of the parents is considered as a cure for the child's troubles only rarely. 'We must not exaggerate this aspect', Mlle. Rambert warns, 'it is the child who must be treated'.

Mlle. Rambert divides the treatment into three phases, starting with a series of tests to determine the emotional and intellectual status of the child, and the diagnosis. The beginning of treatment aims at an 'exteriorization' of the child's conflict; the second phase is concerned with a 'conscious realization and liquidation of the neurotic conflict'. These two phases coincide with what the Vienna School of child analysis considers insight into the illness, and working through.

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