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Harrison, A.M. (2015). Ten Little Monkeys. Psychoanal. St. Child, 69:261-274.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 69:261-274

Ten Little Monkeys

Alexandra M. Harrison, M.D.

Observations of videotaped sessions of the analytic treatment of a four-year-old autistic boy offer insights into the meanings and the mechanisms of transference. These observations illustrate the well-known fact that the relationship of transference to symbolization is ambiguous. They also demonstrate that multiple simultaneous meanings exist in a transference field, and many of these meanings emerge from partially or nonsymbolized domains of experience, including and perhaps most important, bodily experience. Whereas many clinicians would agree with these proposals, finding supportive data for them is difficult. One way to explore nonsymbolized phenomena is by analyzing the observable data in videotapes of an autistic child with limited symbolic capacity. Then these data can be put together with the emerging symbolic communications of the child as well as the countertransference reactions of the analyst and some of the biological processes contributing to these meanings. In this study, complex interactions between and among transference reactions of varying degrees of symbolization and in different domains of meaning may provide clues to transference in patients of all ages.

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