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Psychoanalytic Pedagogy put to the Test through the Work in ‘Zonnelied’

In this contribution the possibility of a psychoanalytic pedagogy is tested by the practical experience of work in Zonnelied, a residential setting for mentally disabled persons, some of whom also have psychiatric or behavioural problems. The author classifies the way of working within Zonnelied as directive, educational and supportive while being informed by the ethics of psychoanalysis. The following topics are discussed and illustrated with clinical fragments: how the structure of the institution functions as an instrument for the education of patients and as anchoring point for patients as well as for members of the team; patients’ identification with their negligent parents; the provision of points of reference within and beyond the community; the particular history of the patients and patterns of repetition; and, a continuous interrogation by team members of their own desire to educate.