An Explorer’s Companion: On a Case of Infantile Psychosis

In this case study the author testifies about her encounter with an eleven year old boy who is resident in the treatment centre De Dauw. The crucial question is how to understand infantile psychosis. The author begins with difficulties experienced in the community and in individual psychotherapy. In order to bridge the gap between theory and practice, these difficulties will be explored and translated from within a psychoanalytic framework. The author considers the coming into being of the subject and the consequences in terms of drift and affect regulation, giving meaning and the relationship to the Other. Throughout the text, the author tries to shed light on the goal of treatment.

The Sadness in his Eyes: Encounters with a Juvenile Delinquent with Psychopathic Traits

Both popular and scientific definitions of psychopathy are far from neutral and could be seen to promote stereotyping. For example, the psychopath is often described as a social predator or cold-blooded beast. Such metaphors might influence how individuals with psychopathic traits experience emotions and social relations, and how they think about their criminal acts. We argue that the mental and contextual embedding of psychopathic behaviours is frequently neglected. Building on a detailed qualitative investigation of the affective, interpersonal and antisocial life of a male adolescent with clear psychopathic traits this paper aims to describe how he positions himself in relation to others. Based on our case materials we suggest that his antisocial behaviour and his emotional and interpersonal functioning bear witness to specific defensive processes, as well as to a psychotic structure.

The Treatment of the Signifier for Children with Autism

The recent term of Disorder of the autismspectrum makes clear that nowadays autism becomes more and more an all-embracing, even empty diagnosis. Beyond this problematic labeling, Psychoanalysis deals with the symptom of the subject as a particular solution for the problem of the desire and the enjoyment of the Other. The symptom of the child can be considered within the structural opposition formulated by Lacan: the symptom as a representation versus a realisation of the truth of the parents. In a case of a ten year old boy with autism a symptom is analyzed in terms of a pure materialisation of the object a. The psychoanalytic intervention, based on the technique of bricolage, attempt to make tolerable and accessible the pure signifier, full of enjoyment of the Other, for the subject.

Erik: “I can’t play with all your questions!”. Clinical reflections concerning play and creativity in the work of D.W. Winnicott as a result of a play therapy with a five year old boy.

By means of some clinical fragments from the play therapy of a five year old boy, we explore the concept of interpretation, using the visions of various authors to instruct us. We consider the determination and the passion in Klein’s interpretative work. Dolto teaches us to interpret by asking questions. Both principles guide us in our work with Erik until he says: “Leave me alone!” and expresses that our questions are obstructing his play. He doesn’t want to talk, only to play but Dolto asserts that children do not come to analysis to play but to work. Suddenly, we have lost our framework for interpretation. What should we do? Winnicott helps by pointing out that play can facilitate in-depth psychoanalytic work without interpretation. We explore this principle throughout the case study of Erik. In particular, we wish to highlight the dangers associated with interpretations inspired by a preconceived idea.

Download full text

“Suddenly, they appear…”: On genuine, small and other Freudian case-studies

Reflecting on the three symposia recently organised by Idesça in cooperation with the Gezelschap voor Psychoanalyse en Psychotherapie, the author queries the status of so-called “small case-studies”. With reference to (i) his own clinical experience; (ii) so-called small Freudian case-studies (in contrast with Freud’s case-studies of Dora, The Ratman, The Wolfman, Little Hans and Schreber); and (iii) the short stories of the Belgian writer Peter Verhelst (Mondschilderingen [“mouth paintings”] (2002)), it is argued that a small Freudian clinical fragment bears witness to (i) the enigmatic presence of the clinician with respect to the sudden appearance of the unconscious; (ii) the use of a certain style and a certain measure; (iii) the circumvention of imaginary reality; and (iv) the clinical structure of fantasy.

Download full text