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 On the other hand, some of the technical principles are out of date in light of social changes.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.
Starting from the effects of the power of speech, the relation between free association and “full speech” is questioned. It is argued that, whereas “empty speech” (i) confirms the very necessity of speech and (ii), establishes or re-establishes the social bond, “full speech” is constitutive on the level of the subject. In addition, some psychoanalytical techniques are highlighted which enable the psychoanalyst to support speech in its different functions.