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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

Continuities and Discontinuities in Development: Perspectives from Child Analysis

Continuities and Discontinuities in Development:  Perspectives from Child Analysis

E. Kirsten Dahl, Ph.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst
Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis

Discussant:  Jonathan Sugar, M.D.
Associate Faculty, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Development may look seamless retrospectively from an adult's perspective but does not appear so prospectively for the child analyst. The child analyst working with young children is impressed with the magnitude of the behavioral, cognitive and emotional changes that accompany developmental re-organizations. While the analyst of adults has the impression that she is working with one mind, multi-dimensional and multi-layered though it is, the child analyst often has the feeling that in the course of childhood the development of the mind involves such extraordinary re-organizations that there appear to be different minds, with little or no communication with the "old mind" once the new one has taken hold. Using clinical material from the treatment of a toddler, a five and seven year old and an adult this paper illustrates the differences in fantasy and cognition at different ages as organized around pre-oedipal and oedipal themes. The author argues that the apparent seamlessness observed in the adult mind is structured through primal phantasies, but that the developmentally earlier versions of primal phantasies are not in fact fully available to the adult mind even under the regressive pull of the analytic process.

SATURDAY, October 2, 2004, 2-4 P.M.
4448 East Hall, University of Michigan (Corner of Church & South University)
Ann Arbor