Document Detail

The use of fantasy play in the treatment of a six-year-old adopted girl.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20578435     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The traditional psychoanalytic practice with children focuses on the observation and the interpretation of the child's play. In contrast, in my treatment of Sara, my focus was on playing with the child. Since initially she was unable to play, Ifirst taught her how to act out fantasies in play until, gradually, she became an active participant and, finally, the creator of her own stories. This method was effective because it reproduced the "to and fro" or "optimal responsiveness" between the mother and infant in the first three years of life when the infant/child experience is of being found by the mother. Like the infant/child, my patient's response to our playing was to recognize that her actions evoked meaning for her therapist. Empowered by this selfawareness, she began to participate in the dialogue of fantasy play and, as our stories expanded, she experienced the affirmation and fulfillment of a reciprocal relationship. While lost in play, she experienced being found. Her story demonstrates, poignantly, how a child comes to choose aggression and cruelty as a source of power. For Sara, nurturing and goodness engendered feelings of weakness and helplessness because they stirred up her envy of and intense longing for the good enough mothering that she had never known.
Katharine Gould
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Psychoanalytic study of the child     Volume:  64     ISSN:  0079-7308     ISO Abbreviation:  Psychoanal Study Child     Publication Date:  2009  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-28     Completed Date:  2010-07-15     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376472     Medline TA:  Psychoanal Study Child     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  92-111     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty, Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adoption / psychology*
Aggression / psychology
Defense Mechanisms
Mother-Child Relations
Object Attachment
Parenting / psychology
Play Therapy*
Power (Psychology)
Psychoanalytic Interpretation
Psychoanalytic Therapy
Self Concept

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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