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Loshak, R. (2007). ‘THERE IS A WAR ON! SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET KILLED’. Psychoanal. Psychother., 21(1):20-39.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 21(1):20-39


Rosemary Loshak

This paper describes the first three years of work providing consultation at the interface between adult mental health and children's services. It suggests that significant numbers of children, living with parents whose mental illness may be ‘severe and enduring’, remain hidden from services. The author applies psychoanalytic theory in an attempt to understand the unconscious factors, for organizations as well as for individuals, which may contribute to making it so difficult for services to work co-operatively to recognize these children's existence and their emotional needs. She reviews some of the related fields in which the application of psychoanalytic thinking has occurred and also describes the context in which the work takes place. A series of vignettes demonstrate some of the difficulties encountered and the ways in which the presence of a neutral third or ‘other’ can contribute to their resolution. She suggests working relationships between adult's and children's services are profoundly affected by the psychotic processes operating in the minds of these parents and that the consultant acts as a container enabling staff to manage the fragmentation and splitting which would otherwise be inevitable.

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