Children whose minds as well as bodies have been damaged by the intrusions of sexual abuse, violence or neglect, and others, quite different, who are handicapped by their own mysterious sensitivities to more minor deprivations, may experience a type of black despair and cynicism that require long-term treatment and test the stamina of the psychotherapist to the utmost.
In Live Company, Anne Alvarez reflects on thirty years' experience of treating autistic, psychotic and borderline children and adolescents by the methods of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Central to the book is the moving story on an autistic child's long struggle between sanity and madness, in which the author describes the arduous journey that she as therapist and he as patient made towards new understanding and his partial recovery.
Modern developments in psychoanalytic theory and technique mean that such children can be treated with some success. In the book the author discusses these developments, and also describes some of the areas of convergence and divergence between organicist and psychodynamicist theories of autism. Particularly important is her integration of psychoanalytic theory with the new findings in infant development and infant psychiatry. This has enabled her to formulate some new and exciting ideas and speculate on the need for some additions to established theory.
Anne Alvarez has produced a professionally powerful and englightening book, drawn from her extensive experience as a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, which will be of interest to all professionals involved with children and adolescents as well as anyone interested in madness and the growth of the mind.
…exciting and challenging book… there is much to learn from this book for clinical practice and I recommend it wholeheartedly. - Midland Journal of Psychotherapy
…for anyone also working with distressed, depressed, depleted, or psychically arrested adult patients, the relevance and inspiration of this book will be immediately apparent. - British Journal of Psychotherapy
…painful, yet positive text… I hope that many readers will take their time over the reading of it: their patience will be well rewarded. - Nursing Times
I think this is a deeply moving and wise book in a realm where it is so difficult to be sure of anything. - Oliver Sacks
A beautifully written, carefully documented exposition of thirty years' intensive psychoanalytic work… a book which child and adult psychoanalysts will treasure. - The Journal of Child Psychotherapy
I cannot imagine a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who will not enjoy and value it. It has led me to some changes in the way I work, and it has explained some of the ways I had found I was working. - Anne Henry, Journal of the British Association of Psychotherapists
Preface. Acknowledgements. Introduction: Modern Developments in Psychoanalysis. The Long Fall. Vegetable Life and Awakenings. Becoming Vertebrate. Growth of a Mind: The Function of Reclamation. Reclamation and Live Company: Normal Counterparts in the Caretaker-Infant Relationship. Making the Thought Thinkable: Perspective on Introjection and Projection. The Problem of the New Idea: Thought Disorder and Behaviour Disturbance as Forms of Cognitive Deficit. A Developmental View of 'Defence': Borderline Patients. The Necessary Angel: Idealization as a Development. Clinical Depression and Despair: Defences and Recoveries. Some Precursors of Reparation in the Hardened Destructive Child. Child Sexual Abuse: The Need to Remember and the Need to Forget. Beyond the Unpleasure Principle: Play and Symbolism. Wildest Dreams and Lies: Aspiration and Identification in Depressed Children. Autism: The Controversies. Rites and Rituals in Autism: The Use of the Counter-transference. Robbie at 30. Appendix 1. Appendix 2. Bibliography. Name Index. Subject Index.