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Novick, J. (1970). The Vicissitudes of the "Working Alliance" in the Analysis of a Latency Girl. Psychoanal. St. Child, 25:231-256.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 25:231-256

The Vicissitudes of the "Working Alliance" in the Analysis of a Latency Girl

Jack Novick, Ph.D.

Although "working alliance" is one of the many terms borrowed from the field of adult analysis, it is one that child analysts not only can borrow, but also can clarify and formulate more precisely. Despite the many important differences between child and adult analysis, the phenomena covered by the term "working alliance" are probably more easily visible in children. Thus far the few attempts at clarifying the term by using childhood material have centered mainly on the child's pathological and normal features that interfere with the initial formation of such an alliance and on the capacities necessary for participation in the analytic task (A. Freud, 1965); (Frankl and Hellman, 1962).

It is helpful to differentiate (a) the existence of a capacity, (b) the willingness to use the capacity, and (c) the willingness to use the capacity for analytic work. The first category takes in developmental considerations and pathological interferences with structuralization. If we exclude very young children and those who have experienced gross interference or manifest pronounced ego deviation, then we can assume that most children have many of the capacities necessary for analytic work. However, as Anna Freud (1965) has pointed out, it is natural for children to avoid using capacities such as self-reflection even under ordinary circumstances and to resist its use for analytic purposes.

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