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Mahon, E.J. (2001). Anna Freud and the Evolution of Psychoanalytic Technique. Psychoanal. St. Child, 56:76-95.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 56:76-95

Anna Freud and the Evolution of Psychoanalytic Technique

Eugene J. Mahon, M.D.

The Focus of this Paper is on the Evolution of Child Psychoanalytic technique and the contributions of Anna Freud's book on normality and pathology to this evolution. I will argue that two concepts in particular in that seminal work have influenced technique subtly and profoundly. I believe that the concept of developmental lines and the outline of a metapsychological profile force the analyst into a state of therapeutic readiness whereby he is always assessing developmental and dynamic considerations that lead to changes in technique and guard against complacency and involutional therapeutic tendencies. If there is a complementary series of incremental nodal points that construct the components of pathology, one could argue that normality is constructed similarly, as epigenetic developmental strata and lines become more advanced, coherent, and integrated. The developmentally informed analyst is always assessing the normality and pathology of clinical process: his technique is constantly being influenced consciously and preconsciously by Anna Freudian insights about developmental lines and metapsychological assessments.


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