Developmental Perspectives in Child Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Developmental Perspectives in Child Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

1st Edition

Edited by Christopher Bonovitz, Andrew Harlem


298 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Developmental Perspectives in Child Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy incorporates recent innovations in developmental theory and research into our understanding of the nature of change in child psychotherapy. Diverse psychoanalytic ideas and individual styles are represented, challenging the historical allegiance in analytic child therapy to particular, and so often singular, schools of thought. Each of the distinguished contributors offers a conceptually grounded and clinically rich account of child development, addressing topics such as refl ective functioning, the role of play, dreaming, trauma and neglect, the development of recognition and mutuality, autism, adoption, and non- binary conceptions of gender. Extended clinical vignettes offer the reader clear vision into the convergence of theory and practice, demonstrating the potential of psychoanalytic psychotherapy to move child development forward. This book will appeal to all practicing mental health professionals.


"This highly readable and thoroughly clinical volume is a response to today’s wide assortment of psychoanalytic theories and techniques. By offering a range of theorists the opportunity to immerse the reader in their clinical work, the editors fulfill their mission of illustrating that theoretical signifiers have given way to complexity, to mutual influence amongst theories, and to the mosaicism of 21st century thinking. The editors’ respect for diversity is amply rewarded by the array of beautiful clinical reports that forms a tapestry of shared and diverging perspectives"-Karen Gilmore MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

"Alive with imagination and crackling with synthesis, this new collection breaks into our consulting rooms like a child eager to play. These chapters, brimming with clinical stories, will not only change the way we talk about children, but also the ways we talk about models of mind and psychotherapeutic technique."-Ken Corbett, New York University.

"Expertly crafted child therapy, the new royal road to the unconscious, illustrates how nonverbal and unrepresented states come alive. Where better to develop unconscious communication than where rational thinking gets no traction? Where spontaneity, fluidity, intuition, tempo, rhythm, and metaphor are the coin of the realm. From a variety of skilled child analysts, these chapters demonstrate how to access the child within all of us, establish a strong net of security, and widen the play in the unconscious expanse. Whether seeing adults or children, this volume will help clinicians immerse themselves in unconscious emanations and learn what children already know: intuit the unconscious domain and do it without decoding."-Andrea Celenza, Ph.D., author of Erotic Revelations: Clinical Applications and Perverse Scenarios; Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

"This is a rewarding and necessary book. It brings together a highly intelligent group of contributors to discuss the relevance for child analytic work of the newer expansions in developmental thinking and in psychoanalytic theory. These expansions derive from relational theory, infant, attachment and brain research, the power of play and of dreaming in their own right and for their own sake, and the relevance of positive projective identification. Beautiful and evocative clinical material demonstrates how this modern thinking contributes to greater therapeutic effectiveness. A must read. Child work offers a wonderful crucible for testing theory and research."-Anne Alvarez, PhD MACP Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, and retired co-convener of Autism Service,Tavistock Clinic, London.

Table of Contents

Introduction Andrew Harlem, Ph.D. Section I: Infant Research, Reflective Functioning and Mutual Regulation Chapter 1 Being-With: From infancy through philosophy to psychoanalysis Bruce Reis, Ph.D. Chapter 2 How We Know How to Be with Others: Infant-parent psychotherapy for early indicators of autism spectrum disorders Barbara Kalmanson, Ph.D. Chapter 3 Trauma and Attachment: Clinical techniques to enhance reflective functioning Miriam Steele, Ph.D. Chapter 4 Neglect and its Neglect: Developmental science, psychoanalytic thinking and countertransference vitality Graham Music, Ph.D. Section II: Play, Dreaming, and the Growth of Mind Chapter 5 The Universe of Play: Technique in contemporary child therapy Peter Carnochan, Ph.D. Chapter 6 The Analyst as Dreaming Filmmaker Antonio Ferro & Elena Molinari Chapter 7 The Emergence of the Analyst’s Childhood: Embodied history and its influence on the dyadic system Christopher Bonovitz, Psy.D. Chapter 8 Theory of Mind and Therapeutic Action: A Contemporary Freudian Integration Neal Vorus, Ph.D. Section III: Mutuality and the Self in Relation Chapter 9 A Child Therapist at Work: Playing, talking, and the therapist’s inner dialogue Christopher Bonovitz, Psy.D. Chapter 10 The Origins of Relationality: The role of pre- and perinatal experience in the structure, psychopathology and treatment of the relational self Brent Willock, Ph.D. Chapter 11 "Is This Chair Alive?": Interpersonal relating and the beginnings of the self Seth Aronson, Psy.D. Section IV: Re-Imagining Gender Chapter 12 What’s Your Gender? Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. Chapter 13 Holding Futurity in Mind: Therapeutic action in the relational treatment of a transgender girl Avgi Saketopoulou, Ph.D.

About the Editors

Christopher Bonovitz, Psy.D., is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City, & Clinical Assistant Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Contemporary Psychoanalysis and maintains a psychotherapy and consultation practice with children, adolescents, and adults in New York City.

Andrew Harlem, Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, an instructor at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC), and faculty member at Access Institute for Psychological Services. He is on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, is past president of the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology and maintains a psychotherapy and consultation practice in San Francisco, California.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Child & Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health