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Child Analysis

  Child Analysis was not conducted by Freud, even though he focused on childhood. His only child patient, ‘Little Hans’, was analysed through accounts given by the boy\'s father. The first analyst to conduct child analysis was Melanie Klein. Anna Freud later developed a varied technique for working with children.

The main differences in child analysis are that the parents and parent-figures are still actual external figures in the child\'s life, and not internalized parental figures. Children are really dependent, and so dependence is not a neurotic symptom for them. There is also a moral question involved, as the child does not give his or her consent.

In child analysis, play and toys replace free association. But it was only in this respect that Melanie Klein varied her approach between adults and children. She believed that even a 3-year-old child had a past which (like an adult) he or she lives in the present. Working in the Tavistock Clinic in London in the 1950s, Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicot and Susan Isaacs developed the view that the infant\'s first object relationship to the mother is of vital importance. They were concerned with studying psychosis and located fixed points for this in the mother-child relationship.

Anna Freud, working with Dorothy Burlington, varied analytic technique with children. She shifted away from exploring psychic structures through studying neurosis and developed theories of normal and abnormal character structures. MJ

Further reading Melanie Klein, Envy and Gratitude: a Study of Unconscious Sources.



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