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Colonna, A.B. (1984). Prediction of Development. Psychoanal. St. Child, 39:509-526.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 39:509-526

Prediction of Development

Alice B. Colonna

ANNA FREUD'S MAJOR EFFORTS TO MAKE PREDICTIONS WERE always in the context of the "developmental lines" and the Profile as used before, during, and after analytic treatment. It was characteristic of her thinking that she worked toward a systematic psychoanalytic foundation for prediction. Her focus on and interest in psychoanalytic theory in relation to child development have become of great value in its applications, especially in regard to the healthy parts of the personality. A pioneer, perhaps largely due to her background as a teacher, she always called attention to the strengths as well as the weaknesses in the personality. She succeeded in this approach while rigorously and clearly outlining the problems, deficiencies, and difficulties which faced the child in whatever phase of development.

Marianne Kris (1957) referred to the fact that "in general we have been more accurate in predicting areas of conflict, difficulty, and pathology than we have been in predicting conflict-free functioning and the use of normal defenses. This may be due to a general tendency [among clinicians to look for signs of] pathology." In contrast, "the nursery school teacher … is accustomed by training to be aware of the areas of mastery and of skill" (p. 186f.).


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