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Rees, K. (1978). The Child's Understanding of his Past—Cognitive Factors in Reconstruction with Children. Psychoanal. St. Child, 33:237-259.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 33:237-259

The Child's Understanding of his Past—Cognitive Factors in Reconstruction with Children

Katharine Rees

SOME YEARS AGO, DURING THE TREATMENT OF A 4-YEAR-OLD boy, I became interested in the cognitive problems of reconstruction with younger children. When this child was just over 2 years old, he suffered two separations: his father left the household; and then a few weeks later, the boy was hospitalized with a viral stomach infection. He seemed to have recovered from the impact of these events. It was only a year later, after his mother had a week's vacation away from him, that he began to develop acute anxiety whenever he was separated from her, and even refused to stay at his nursery school where he had previously seemed well settled.

After a while in his treatment, he would end each session by throwing toys all over the floor, and staging a silent and dramatic exit. His reason for dealing with the end of his sessions in this way, his hurt feelings, anger, and attempt to be in control, were related to current oedipal feelings as well as to early losses.

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