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Novak, B.J. (2004). From Chaos to Developmental Growth: Working through Trauma to Achieve Adolescence in the Analysis of an Adopted Russian Orphan.. Psychoanal. St. Child, 59:74-99.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 59:74-99

From Chaos to Developmental Growth: Working through Trauma to Achieve Adolescence in the Analysis of an Adopted Russian Orphan.

Barbara J. Novak, M.D.

In seven years of treatment beginning with an extended evaluation/ psychotherapy phase of one year's duration followed by a six-year analysis, a picture emerged shedding light on the resilience of this child who had at first appeared too disturbed and intellectually limited to benefit from an analysis. Her first seventeen months of life were spent with her mother in the otherwise deplorable physical conditions of a Russian

prison cell. From there she went to at least two different orphanages before being adopted by American parents when she was seven and a half. With analytic treatment, Nikita evolved from a traumatized child, whose inner world reflected the many losses and abuses she had suffered, to a competent adolescent equipped to use the loving relationships her adoptive parents offered her. Analysis of defense, labeling of affects, and use of the analyst as a developmental object all contributed to the therapeutic action and to my patient's modification of sadomasochistic and narcissistic defenses allowing her to fully develop her capacity for mentalization.

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