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Hellman, I. (1960). Simultaneous Analysis of Mother and Child. Psychoanal. St. Child, 15:359-377.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 15:359-377

Simultaneous Analysis of Mother and Child

Simultaneous Analysis of Mother and Child

Ilse Hellman

The persistence of an intimate bond between certain children and their mothers well beyond the usual intensity and age has arrested the attention of child analysts long ago. Problems concerning the nature of such an exceptional tie, its effect on the growing child, and the means of communication between mother and child have led to the wish to study mother-and-child couples by means of simultaneous analyses. This wish has grown from clinical experience with cases in which the mother's participation in the child's disturbance forms an obstacle to his recovery, and in which it is felt that lasting, favorable results can be achieved and maintained only if the existing conditions within the mother can be altered too.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, based on observations made in the course of children's analytic treatment, Dorothy Burlingham (1932) described the manifold ways in which a mother can experience the analyst's intrusion into her intimate bond with her child and how, for both child and mother, such intrusion into certain areas of their lives can be experienced as a serious threat. A great deal of research has been done in recent years concerning the problem of the mother's pathogenic effect on the child, especially with regard to psychosis and psychosomatic illnesses in children.

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