Welcome to our course on Child Development (Birth to age 5). This course is the didactic complement to the Year Two Infant Observation course and we expect to refer to last year’s rich array of observations to illustrate and deepen our understanding of the concepts we will explore this trimester.
Sigmund Freud’s curiosity and theorizing about how childhood was linked to suffering and joy in adulthood led to the idea of developmental progression and therapeutic intervention. Early child psychoanalysis, developed by Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, and based in nuanced observation and clinical work, focused attention on the internal dynamics of infants and young children as well as the importance of their relational and social contexts. These foundational theorists set the stage for decades of observational research and psychoanalytic exploration, all of which has led to our contemporary understanding of attachment, developmental progression, affect regulation, object relations, identity formation, projective processes and neurobiology.
During this class, we will examine this topic from a variety of vantage points with the goal of providing a nuanced and multilayered contemporary understanding of child development rooted in a historical psychoanalytic context. Throughout the course, we will apply our learning to the adult clinical situation.
September 11, 2020 — Origins of the Self
In this session, we will begin to explore the question of how we become who we are. We will consider the internal and external conditions that contribute to development of the infant and young child’s mind/body/self experience. The external family is the matrix for the child’s development. The child’s contribution to their development is the manner in which experience of the family is processed.
Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:585-595.
Stern, D. (1985) Chapter 6, “The Sense of a Subjective Self: I. Overview”, in The Interpersonal World of the Infant, pp124-137
September 18, 2020 — Ideas about Developmental Progression – Positions
One way to think about development is as a three-dimensional spiral, one that begins small and ends wide. The movement occurs via a dialectical interaction between the three positions as originally conceptualized by Melanie Klein – the autistic-contiguous, paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions. All three remain active throughout life. This session will introduce progression as the interaction between internal and external factors that contribute to the generation of the meaning of experience.
Ogden, T.H. (1989). On the Concept of an Autistic-Contiguous Position. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:127-140.
Klein, M. (1946). Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 27:99-110.
Segal, H. (1979) The Depressive Position. In H. Segal Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein (pp. 78-90) London: Karnack Books.
September 25, 2020 — Ideas about Developmental Progression – Stages
Mahler’s conceptualization of the separation-individuation process, particularly her ideas about rapprochement, development in symbolic representation, rupture and repair, affective attunement and libidinal object constancy are foundational and continue to have relevance today. We will explore Mahler’s four subphases of separation-individuation and contemporary perspectives that integrate Mahler’s concepts with attachment theory.
Mahler, M.S. (1972). Rapprochement Subphase of the Separation-Individuation Process. Psychoanal Q., 41:487-506.
Bergman, A. Harpaz-Rotem, I. (2004). Revisiting Rapprochement in the Light of Contemporary Developmental Theories. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 52(2):555-570.
October 2, 2020 — Attachment Theory
Attachment theory and research has helped us understand how infants are intrinsically motivated to preserve relationships with their caregivers, how disruption in primary attachment relationships creates vulnerability in cohesion, affective experience and ways of relating and how patterns of attachment create psychological structure. Listening to patients with an ear to attachment patterns and compromises allows an analyst to understand the underlying dynamics of a patient’s psychic structure and how to work with these dynamics in the clinical realm.
Sroufe, L.A. (2017) “Attachment Theory: A Humanistic Approach for Research and Practice Across Cultures.”, Ch1, pp1-24 in “Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Perspectives: A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach”, New York: NY. Routledge.
Slade, A. (2000). The Development and Organization of Attachment: Implications for Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 48(4):1147-1174.
October 9, 2020 — Affect, Regulation and Sense of Self
*The mid-term class evaluation will be conducted during this session. Please use these questions to facilitate your discussion: Midterm Evaluation 2019-02-13
Understanding affective experience in an attachment context is central to understanding patients’ sense of themselves, their experience of feeling states and their experience of the analytic relationship. Recent interdisciplinary and neurobiological research efforts have emphasized the centrality of affect and patterns of mutual regulation in attachment processes and developing modes of self-regulation (or dysregulation).
Pedersen, S.H. Poulsen, S. Lunn, S. (2014). Affect Regulation: Holding, Containing and Mirroring. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(5):843-864.
Slade, A. (2014). Imagining Fear: Attachment, Threat, and Psychic Experience. Psychoanal. Dial., 24(3):253-266.
October 16, 2020 — Representation, Introjection, Internalization and Identification I
Young children develop the capacity to symbolize through introjection and internal representation of primary objects. Finding the self in the other requires the child to look for something. Young children discover the me and not me through their identifications with their parents and caregivers. This process requires a psychic movement out and a psychic movement in – much like breathing or the digestive process of taking food in, making use of what is good and then eliminating what is not.
This session will examine the concepts of representation, introjection, internalization and identification and the accretion of an internal object world.
Beebe, B. and Lachmann, F. (1994). Representation and Internalization in Infancy: Three Principles of Salience. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 11(2):127-165.
Anzieu-Premmereur, C. (2013). The process of representation in early childhood. In H. Levine, G. Reed and D. Scarfone (Eds.) Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning: Clinical and Theoretical Contributions. pp240-254.
October 23, 2020 — Representation, Introjection, Internalization and Identification II
In this session we will examine some particularities about internal object relations when there are difficulties in the child’s constitution and/or deficits in the caregiving context.
Alvarez, A. (2018). The Concept of the Internal Object: Some Defining Features. Psychoanal. Dial., 28(1):25-34.
Meltzer, D. (1975). Adhesive Identification. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:289-310.
October 30, 2020 — Adoption
Adopted individuals are overrepresented in the clinical population and understanding the unique and complex object relations world set in motion by adoption is necessary when working with patients whose adoption experience reverberates throughout the lifespan. In the modern era, the advent of open adoption has allowed for explicit exploration of the multilayered dynamics of loss, idealization, fantasy, psychic splits and identification in adoption.
de Peyer, J. (2013). Sequestered Selves: Discussion of Adoption Roundtable. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):149-168.
Edwards, J. (2000). On being dropped and picked up: Adopted children and their internal objects. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 26(3):349-367.
November 6, 2020 — Dimensionality – Triadic Relations
The movement from one person to two person to three person relating is accompanied by an internal capacity to tolerate more than one thought and relationship at a time. We will discuss the contemporary idea of psychic dimensionality and its relationship to the early ideas of the oedipal situation. We will also explore how ideas of sameness and difference contribute to a capacity to think abstractly.
Edgcumbe, R. Burgner, M. (1975). The Phallic-Narcissistic Phase—A Differentiation Between Preoedipal and Oedipal Aspects of Phallic Development. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:161-180.
Alvarez, A. (1998). Failures to Link: Attacks or Defects? Some Questions Concerning the Thinkability of Oedipal and Pre-Oedipal Thoughts. J. Child Psychother., 24(2):213-231.
November 13, 2020 — Identification and Differentiation – Early Gender and Ethnic/Racial Identity Development
The concept of gender identity development has undergone intense evolution in the past thirty years. We will explore the construct of gender as a process of self and body experience, differentiation, identification, disidentification, complementarity and the capacity for living with contradiction. We will also look at the way in which young children begin to notice, form, use and make meaning of sociocultural concepts of ethnic and racial identity – their own and those of others.
Benjamin, J. (1995). Sameness and difference: Toward an “overinclusive” model of gender development. In Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 15(1), pp. 125-142
Ehrensaft, D. (2018). “What’s your gender?”, In: C. Bonovitz and A. Harlem (Eds.), Developmental Perspectives in Child Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, pp241-262
Van Ausdale, D. and Feagin, J. (1996) Using Racial and Ethnic Concepts: The Critical Case of Very Young Children. American Sociological Review, 61(5):779-793.
November 20, 2020 — Superego Development and Shame
As development progresses, differentiation of self and other and the developing child’s need to negotiate between their own wishes, ideals and their ideas and fantasies about the expectations of important others come under the structure of the developing superego. Affective tone and attunement have a significant effect on the superego. We will consider the superego’s function in affect regulation and the neurobiologic and relational aspects of shame.
Schore, A. (2003). Early Superego Development: The Emergence of Shame and Narcissistic Affect Regulation in the Practicing Period, in Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self, pp151-186