Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth: Preliminary Steps for the Technique of Child Analysis

At the 6th International Psychoanalytic Conference in The Hague in 1920 the Viennese psychoanalyst Hermine von Hug-Hellmuth presented her paper “On the technique of child analysis”. Her lecture discussed the many practical problems and theoretical questions she encountered while “analysing” children in the early twenties. The author reviews the main ideas of von Hug-Hellmuth in light of the work of other psychoanalysts, such as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud, Donald Winnicott, Françoise Dolto. He also determines the current value of the ideas of von Hug-Hellmuth for the contemporary praxis of child analysis. Some of the technical questions are still valid, such as the ethical question regarding the position of the parents and the question of education in child-analysis. On the other hand, some of the technical principles are out of date in light of social changes. The auteur shows that the study of von Hug-Hellmuth’s paper can still inspire every child analyst.

Conversations with Howard Shevrin I, Ann Arbor, December 8th, 2004

Howard Shevrin is born in 1926 in New York. During World War 2, he is a front line soldier in Germany from December 1944 till February 1945. After the war, he obtains his PhD in psychology and child development at the New York Cornell University. In 1954 he joins the Menninger Foundation in Texas, where he starts doing subliminal research with Lester Luborsky and Charles Fischer. He also completes his analytic training there. In 1973, he joins the University of Michigan as a professor of psychology and as chief psychologist at the Department of Psychiatry. With the help of Bob Berry, he founds the Ormond and Hazel Hunt Laboratory and starts doing research with Bill Williams, head of the neurology EEG lab. In the following years , a number of post-docs join him, among whom Linda Brakel, Edward Bernat, Phil Wong and Michael Snodgrass. In one of their major studies, Shevrin and colleagues show that psychoanalytic clinicians are able to derive the unconscious conflict rationale from the subject’s accounts, which is consciously unrecognized by the subjects themselves, but nevertheless recognised by the brain EEG characteristics.