A fragment of an analysis with a child, or the importance of language for oedipal structuration

This paper concerns a clinical fragment from the analysis of a four year old child. Several topics relevant for child analysis are addressed. We learn that a child who had abruptly decided to be silent, through the particularity of the transference bond, is once again enough at ease to tell his story. Symbolic exchange, together with the answer of the Other as mirror of language, allows the boy access to the oedipal constellation and allows him to reorient himself psychically. Through a process of drawing, of signifying, being signified, and of writing, we get a glimpse of the significance of language for the Oedipal structuration process.

Download full text

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

Parental Break Up. Clinical guidelines and consequences for education.

The author focuses on the meaning that the break-up of an elderly couple has for their child(ren) and refers to some principles formulated by Françoise Dolto: 1. the recognition of the child as a person that makes its own choices; 2. “to say nothing is a way of speaking”; 3. the assurance of continuity; and 4. visiting duties as opposed to visiting rights. These principles function as guidelines for work with children whose parents have separated. Using a clinical fragment, the author argues that these guidelines are not to be taken as universally applicable but rather their value lies in the possibilities they offer to the subject to express something of its particular truth.

“The Body is a time-bomb”: Urgency and crisis in the transition from youth to adulthood

This article poses three related questions on the basis of a clinical example of a psychotic young man who develops a suicidal crisis.First of all there is the question of the cause of this crisis, at a moment when the subject makes the transfer from school life to ‘adult life’. A particular fragility (and the inability of others to recognize this) seems to cause this crisis. Secondly: what is the goal of clinical work in a psychiatric setting? It is clear that we must support the solutions of the subject itself, instead of focusing on our ideology of therapeutic objectives and workplans. Thirdly, what is the relationship between remedial education and psychoanalysis? An educational/corrective approach is completely incompatible with the ethics of psychoanalysis. The question of whether a reciprocal influence is possible is posed throughout the article which, amongst other things, problematizes the concept of “school”.

The language of violence

This article deals with the question of violence within the context of a school. The central idea is that a tension exists between an experience and the language for that experience, an idea which is brought to the fore by both Freud and the Russian psychologist Vygotsky. Violence is considered as the expression of a missed meeting between experience and language. By means of a number of psychoanalytic concepts this idea is developed and illustrated with a clinical fragment.