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Hartmann, H. (1950). Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology. Psychoanal. St. Child, 5:7-17.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 5:7-17

Symposium on Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology

Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology

Heinz Hartmann, M.D.

There is some thematic continuity between our previous Panel Discussion on "Theories of Psychoanalysis," held in Montreal one year ago, and the papers we shall hear today. In choosing as our topic "Psychoanalysis and Developmental Psychology," we wanted to emphasize the growing importance of this aspect of psychoanalysis; and also to give a fuller account of thoughts and experiences that were presented at last year's Convention. Some aspects of what will be said today will no doubt overlap with the field covered by the recent meeting in Stockbridge, at which Anna Freud and others discussed the present state of analytic child psychology. However, given the incompleteness of our knowledge in this field, and the tentative nature of our propositions, a repeated working through of the rather complex problems involved will, I think, be all for the good.

As to my own contribution, I want to present a few considerations only, which might prove helpful as an introduction to the topic of our Panel. I am fully aware of its unsystematic character. Although the principles of what analysis can contribute to developmental psychology have never been systematically stated, I think that we may have reached a point at which an attempt would be feasible and fruitful. But I am by no means prepared to undertake such a presentation, at least not here and now.

Years ago Freud complained that the direct observations of child psychologists are frequently questionable because they describe phenomena not really understood in their relationships and in their dynamic impact—while, on the other hand, the conclusions about childhood which we reach on the basis of analysis with adults have the disadvantage that we gain them through a complicated system of reconstructions only, and through many detours of thought. This gap could be closed in part, but not completely, by child analysis. Therefore the combination of the direct longitudinal observation from early childhood on, with the reconstructive data furnished by analysis, is of paramount importance.

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