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Schwarz, H. (1950). The Mother in the Consulting Room—Notes on the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Two Young Children. Psychoanal. St. Child, 5:343-357.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 5:343-357

The Mother in the Consulting Room—Notes on the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Two Young Children

Hedy Schwarz


It is more difficult for the mother of the young child to decide to send her child to analysis than for the mother of the latency child.

The mother of the young child in need of treatment can be helped in her decision by being invited into the consulting room for part of the treatment.

The mother is the most important person in the young child's life and her presence in the consulting room gives us a good opportunity to study the emotional interplay between mother and child and the ways in which it has contributed to the child's disturbance.

The mother who follows the treatment of the child in the consulting room will be better able to cope with the neurotic child at home and will gradually adjust her own educational ways to our analytic efforts.

The disturbed mother present in the consulting room can be given an outlet and yet be prevented from occupying the child's sessions with her own problems. She should be helped to recognize the implications of her behavior—but only with regard to the child and his disturbance.

For the child the presence of the mother in the consulting room acts as a reassurance of her approval of the analyst and the analytic interpretations.

If the child's speech is still poor, the mother can act as an interpreter of the child's special language.

After some time, varying from case to case, the child develops a strong positive relationship to the analyst. The mother who has received some measure of satisfaction from being included can acknowledge this development as an achievement and on the basis of her attachment to the analyst will not unduly resent the suggestion to let the child try on his own.

Preparation of the mother for this separation forms an important part of this work. It should be gradually and carefully compensated by

interviews with the mother alone, in which she is given detailed information of the progress of the analysis.

After weaning the mother from the consulting room, we still need her reports about the events occurring from day to day in the young child's life to enable us to understand his behavior and play during the sessions as his attempt to master external and internal reality. Thus the mother can still feel an active partner in the treatment although she is no longer in the consulting room during sessions.

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