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Meltzer, D. (1975). Chapter X: Conclusion. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 239-244.

Meltzer, D. (1975). Chapter X: Conclusion. Explorations in Autism: A Psycho-Analytical Study, 239-244

Chapter X: Conclusion Book Information Previous Up Next

Donald Meltzer

By the time that a book has written itself and its various parts been put together, perhaps in particular, as in the present instance, when several people have worked together and separately on it, what has emerged seems very different from what was envisaged. One can step back and see the brushstrokes melt away and a scheme emerge whose organization was never planned or expected. It is suddenly clear that the transformation of experiences into a book has changed oneself; in becoming part of one's history it alters the person who views what has gone on as well as altering his view of the world outside.

For instance, I find on looking inward that a rather particular admiration and fondness has grown up in my feelings for these children which I think can be separated off from feelings towards the analytic work or method, the friends involved, the great amount of the time-of-my-life expended, etc. No, it is a special admiration for these children and, in a way, for autism. I can see that, for instance, in the text I have made links to Oates, Lincoln, the fable of the True Cross, Crusaders. Clearly I feel something heroic in these children and see, albeit exaggerated and incapacitating, the germ of some greatness, some ‘leap into the dark’, as Kierkegaard would call it. I suspect that I am witnessing his ‘knight of faith’ gone wrong at the start, the eccentricity of the true individual hypertrophied beyond its root-system in psychic reality. It is my impression that this counter-transference of mine is shared by those who actually worked with and knew the children. I only actually met one of them, Barry, and that was in consultation before his analysis. My own countertransference is to the group as a compound individual whose history is arranged as are the chapters III-VI. It is this vertex that I wish to explore as a way of drawing together the material of the volume.

Let us start with a theoretical problem and then return to the children.

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