Frances Tustin Today: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Frances Tustin Today

1st Edition

Edited by Judith L. Mitrani, Theodore Mitrani


236 pages

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Frances Tustin Today explores some of the ways and means by which Tustin’s work has enabled psychoanalytic clinicians to enter into the elemental domain of sensation: what Bion called the ‘proto-mental’ area of the psyche-soma. Through detailed clinical contributions of several of her exponents worldwide, this book demonstrates how her ideas -- rooted in decades of work with children on the autistic spectrum -- have influenced and are being expanded, extended and applied to the treatment of ordinary patients from early childhood through adulthood.

The contributors to this volume represent a selection of the contemporary thinking that organically grew out of Tustin’s discoveries, and show that Tustin's model has added new dimensions to the fields of infant observation, family therapy and neuro-psychology. Each chapter is augmented by demonstrable clinical experience. Frances Tustin Today is a valuable resource for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, educators and parents who are interested in learning more about this uniquely independent clinical observer's findings and their impact upon the treatment of autistic states in children, adolescents and adults by contemporary workers in the field of mental health. 

Judith L. Mitrani, and Theodore Mitrani, are Fellows of The International Psycho-Analytical Association, Training and Supervising Psychoanalysts at The Psychoanalytic Center of California in Los Angeles. They are founding members of the Board of Trustees of The Frances Tustin Memorial Trust, and authors, editors, translators and teachers in the private practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy with Adults and Children in Los Angeles, California.  


Frances Tustin is an icon within British Object-Relations psychoanalysis. It is good to have in this book, a sustained tribute to her ideas and to their significant and enduring contribution. Her tradition of learning fundamental truths from autistic conditions remains lively, productive and inspiring.. Tustin's work sustains one of the founding principles of Object-Relations work – that the depth of psychoanalytic ideas is enhanced by rigorous work with children. As that long-held view — going back to the innovative work of Anna Freud and Melanie Klein — has weakened over time, granting a more exclusive place to work with adults, it is important to have this book to redress that imbalance.

This collection draws us back to the fundamental questions about working with another mind. How can one conceive of the object relations of a mind that can barely sustain the possibility of relating to others? It is commonplace to regard psychoanalysis as a body of knowledge derived from what goes wrong, but what can be learned about a mind that has gone so radically and despairingly wrong?

It is evident from the wide range of papers presented here, that indeed much can be learned from the work with children, contributing that which is not accessible in the work with adults alone. This book is a celebration of clinical and therapeutic confidence from those who have actually persevered in the presence of severe autism, those who have managed to form a joint venture with their suffering young patients, both large and small. - Bob Hinshelwood, Professor, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex

Table of Contents

Part I – Prenatality through Latency. The Perpetuation of an Error by Frances Tustin. Stuck Between Two Worlds: Autistic Defenses and the Experience of Premature Birth by Angela Sowa. Prenatal Trauma and Autism by Suzanne Maiello. Further Reflections on the Construction of the Body-Ego by Genevieve Haag. Finding The Wavelength: Tools In Communication with Autistic Children. by Anne Alvarez

Part II – Adolescence Through Adulthood. The use of observation in the psychoanalytic treatment of a 12-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome by Maria Pozzi . Aspects of The Body Image and Sense of Identity In an Adolescent Boy with Autism: Implications for Eating Disorders by Maria Rhode. Long-Term Mother-Child Psychotherapy: Infantile Autism with Cerebellar Anomaly by Bianca Lechevalier. Autistic Phenomena in Neurotic Patients by Sydney Klein. Precipitation Anxiety Precipitation AnxietyIn The Analysis of Adult Patients by Didier Houzel. On the Concept of an Autistic-Contiguous Position by Thomas Ogden. Trying to Enter the Long Black Branches: Some Technical Extensions for the Analysis of Autistic States in Adults by Judith Mitrani. Ghosts in the Swamp: Some Aspects of Splitting and Their Relationship to Parental Losses by Kate Barrows.

About the Editors

Judith L. Mitrani and Theodore Mitrani are Fellows of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and training and supervising psychoanalysts at the Psychoanalytic Center of California in Los Angeles. They are founding members of the Board of Trustees of the Frances Tustin Memorial Trust, and authors, editors, translators and teachers in the private practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy with adults and children in Los Angeles, California.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

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Subject Categories

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