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Linna-Koskela, L. (2012). On the Differences between Child and Adult Analysis. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 35(2):94-104.

(2012). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 35(2):94-104

On the Differences between Child and Adult Analysis

Leena Linna-Koskela, M.D.

The goals and central methodological requirements of psychoanalysis (neutrality, abstinence, a fixed setting, awareness of transference and the related analyst's interest in the inner world of the analysand, the use of one's own psyche as a “working tool,” etc.) do not depend on the analysand's age. In this paper, I study the similarities and differences between child and adult analyses, with particular emphasis on the methodological differences arising from the child-adult level. The perspective opens from the viewpoint of two psychoanalytic treatment paradigms: firstly, the developmental process and secondly, self-observation, and how they are made possible. A theoretical discussion is followed by a comparison between two cases of analysis, one of which began when the analysand was 6-years-old and the other when the analysand was 30-years-old. Both analysands had the same key problem: sadomasochistic tendencies in life. In the comparison, the psychoanalytic process is found the same, but differences in the methodological questions emerge from the analysands' different ways of communication and possibilities for self-observation, as well as the more layered and rigid psychic structure adults have compared with children, whose psychic structure is more plastic, though it may have become fixed at a very early stage. There are several differences in the external frame of the psychoanalyses.

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