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Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Sixteen: The Complexity of Mental Pain Seen in a Six-Year-Old Child Following Sudden Bereavement (1973). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 235-250.

Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Sixteen: The Complexity of Mental Pain Seen in a Six-Year-Old Child Following Sudden Bereavement (1973). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 235-250

Chapter Sixteen: The Complexity of Mental Pain Seen in a Six-Year-Old Child Following Sudden Bereavement (1973) Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

This case demonstrates the efficacy, given appropriate conditions both external, internal and familial, of very brief yet genuinely analytic therapy. Despite the initial impression of defensive anger and guilt, character and circumstances in the case of this young boy were such that seven sessions were sufficient to put in place an internal analytic model of thinking about and mourning the loss of his father: “as if I were a voice that came from inside him”. It is a paper which goes beyond a particular instance to the heart of what psychoanalysis is about—mourning and introjection in the service of sorting confusions and thinking. The task is to follow the child in order to find a level of transference that matches his understanding to the time available. It requires a flexible and penetrating approach to the reality of the situation. The author's special sensitivity in this case has a personal as well as professional basis, since her own husband had suddenly died three years previously.

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