The analysis of children and adolescents is an exciting and creative enterprise. It provides unique insights into the developing mind of the child. The treatment is based on the same principles and theory of mind as adult analysis. However, it is also guided by a very careful and thorough understanding of each child’s particular developmental stage, capacities and needs.
Many children already have complicated inner disturbances that derive from their particular endowment and complex early experiences. These become woven into unconscious fantasy constellations that then interfere with ongoing development. These constellations take much time to unravel and first require the careful building up of a trusting relationship between child and analyst.
Recent research has impressively shown the great advantage of the intensity of psychoanalytic treatment, even with very young children, for many of the anxiety disorders, as well as for the more severe behavior and relational disturbances of childhood. The research highlights that the intensity of treatment (four times a week) allows the child and adolescent the necessary continuity and strength of relationship with the analyst to bring to light and fully explore deeply hidden fears and anxieties.
Approved faculty and supervisors are fully trained and experienced in child and adolescent assessment and analysis. Many originally trained in London with Anna Freud. Graduates receive a certificate in psychoanalysis and are qualified to join the Association for Child Psychoanalysis.
Working with children and adolescents requires specific skills. Post-graduate institute training in child and adolescent psychoanalysis provides a deep and broad learning opportunity that will enhance the capacity of all practitioners who work with young people and parents.
Candidates who wish to graduate as Child Analysts will complete the standard curriculum of the Integrated Training in Psychoanalysis with the addition of two required sequences,
an Infant Observation Seminar and Child Continuous Case Seminars. These emphasize an experiential form of learning designed to help the candidates develop an awareness of the issues, both internal and external, that are specific to child treatment. Infant Observation develops the candidate’s capacity to see the child and to tolerate not knowing how to evaluate all of the information that a clinician encounters in a therapeutic situation. Cases are discussed and learned from through the technique of close process analysis
Candidates undertake the four-times-weekly analysis of two children, one boy and one girl, from different age groups, i.e. preschool, latency, and adolescence. There is a combined minimum total of two hundred supervisory hours.
Control Analysis: Requirements
Graduation requires a Case Presentation where candidates are asked to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the analytic process at work in the treatment of one of their child or adolescent patients.