Psychoanalytic Treatment in Early Childhood (aka Pre-Latency)

Child Psychoanalytic Training (CPT)
2021-22, 1st Trimester — Fridays, 10:15-11:45am
Julie Wood, MA


This year of the Child Psychoanalytic Training program focuses on early childhood, historically referred to in the psychoanalytic world as pre-oedipal, oedipal, and pre-latency. We’ll be learning how to treat children and their families from birth to about 5 years old. Both fall and winter trimesters will be didactic with clinical material, and the spring trimester will be the continuous case conference with all child CA’s at SPSI.

Additional Readings:

  • Melandri, F. (2017). Milk and Tears: A Very Difficult Beginning: The Assessment and Treatment of a Young Boy with Atypical Presentation. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 16(2):158-174
    Illustration of Anna Freud’s developmental profile, with contemporary developmental assessment.
  • Hilke, I. (2007) Miss “Nicht”: A Small Girl Who Was Betrayed of Her Childhood. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology 2:195-207
    3 year old girl, 2 year treatment
  • Gotthold, J. J. (2007) “Do You Believe in Magic?” Articulating a Coconstructed Dynamic Systems Approach to a Child Treatment:: A Discussion of Hilke's “Miss Nicht”. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology 2:209-217
  • Donner, S. L. (2021) Making Meaning through Play: Psychoanalytic Intervention in a Pre-School Child with Global Developmental Delay. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 74:209-226
  • Slade, A. (2006). Reflective Parenting Programs: Theory and Development. Psychoanal. Inq., 26(4):640-657
  • Slade, A. (2008). The Move from Categories to Process: Attachment Phenomena and Clinical Evaluation. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 2(1):89-105
  • Slade, A. (2009). Mentalizing the Unmentalizable: Parenting Children on the Spectrum. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 8(1):7-21
  • Cutner, N. (2014). The Impact of Insecure Attachment on Mothering: A New Mother’s Story. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(1):37-50
  • Markese, S. (2011). Dyadic Trauma in Infancy and Early Childhood: Review of the Literature. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 10(2):341-378

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  1. be able to assess, identify, and conceptualize problems in early childhood, including parenting concerns, and parent-child relational difficulties.
  2. demonstrate emerging skills for working with parents with infants and toddlers, including facilitating healthy attachment and responding to problems of normal development.
  3. demonstrate play therapy skills for working with preschoolers and young children, including interpretation and working within play metaphors.

October 1, 2021 — Introduction to working in early childhood

[71 pages]

Gilmore, K. and Meersand, P. (2015) Ch. 2, “Infancy: Psychoanalytic Theory, Developmental Research, and the Mother-Child Dyad in the First Year of Life” in The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development, pp29-50.

Gilmore, K. and Meersand, P. (2015) Ch. 3, “Toddlerhood: Separation-Individuation, Rapprochement, and the Forerunners of Superego Development” in The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development, pp51-70.

Gilmore, K. and Meersand, P. (2015) Ch. 4, “The Oedipal Phase and the Oedipal Complex: Developmental Advances and Theoretical Considerations” in The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development, pp71-100.

October 8, 2021 — The parents’ imagined child

[92 pages]

Mid-term evaluations should be conducted in the closing minutes of your classes today. This is a discussion that should be allowed at least 10 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes. No written records are necessary.

Midterm Class Evaluation Discussion Questions

Hugger, L. (2009). Mourning the Loss of the Idealized Child. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 8(2):124-136

Fraiberg, S. (1982). Pathological Defenses in Infancy. Psychoanal. Q., 51:612-635

Lieberman, A.F. (1999). Negative Maternal Attributions. Psychoanal. Inq., 19(5):737-756

Fraiberg, S.; Adelson, E.; Shapiro, V. (1975) Ghosts in the Nursery: A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired Infant-Mother Relationships, Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 14(3):387-421.

October 15, 2021 — Parent-infant psychotherapy

[31 pages]

Fraiberg, S. and Adelson, E. (1976). Infant-Parent Psychotherapy on Behalf of a Child in a Critical Nutritional State. Psychoanal. St. Child, 31:461-491

October 22, 2021 — Toddlers and trauma

[50 pages]

Lieberman, A.F. and Pawl, J.H. (1984). Searching for the Best Interests of the Child—Intervention with an Abusive Mother and her Toddler. Psychoanal. St. Child, 39:527-548

Lieberman, A.F. and Harris, W.W. (2007). Still Searching for the Best Interests of the Child. Psychoanal. St. Child, 62:211-238

October 29, 2021 — The body ego, movement, active play in treatment

[35 pages]

Anzieu-Premmereur, C. (2008). Monster Business Is Psychoanalysis Business: How Toddlers and Young Children in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Learn to Contain Their Fears. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 7(3-4):158-164

Olesker, W. (2012). Aggression and Impulse Control in the Analysis of a Young Boy. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 66:81-108.

November 5, 2021 — Considering race in early childhood, implications for later development

[20 pages]

Spielberg, W. (2018) Am I the only Black Kid that Comes Here? The American Psychoanalyst, 4:9 APsaA Publication

Vaughans, K.C. (2021). Black Boys in the Eye of the Storm. Psychoanal. St. Child, 74:47-58.

Vaughans, K.C. and Harris, L. (2016). The Police, Black and Hispanic Boys: A Dangerous Inability to Mentalize. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 15(3):171-178

November 12, 2021 — Mentalization, holding the baby in mind

[38 pages]

Slade, A. (2003). Holding the Baby in Mind. Psychoanal. Inq., 23(3):521-529

Winnicott, D.W. (1957) Chapters 1, 2, and 3 in The Child, the Family, and the Outside World, pp1-29

Optional Reading

Slade, A.; Sadler, L.; Dios-Kenn, C.D.; Webb, D.; Currier-Ezepchick, J; and Mayes, L. (2005). Minding the Baby. Psychoanal. St. Child, 60:74-100

November 19, 2021 — Resilience

[32 pages]

Lieberman, A.F.; Padrón, E.; Van Horn, P.; and Harris, W.W. (2014). Angels in the Nursery: The Intergenerational Transmission of Benevolent Parental Influences, New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 8(2):120-138

Stern, T. (2014). The Development of Reflective Functioning in a Mother Traumatized by Past and Present Events: Facilitating Change in the Parent-Infant Relationship. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(1):24-36