Dissociative identities in childhood: An exploration of how children with dissociative identities may present in psychotherapy. Are there implications for psychoanalytic technique?

Rusell, Jo (2015) Dissociative identities in childhood: An exploration of how children with dissociative identities may present in psychotherapy. Are there implications for psychoanalytic technique? Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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Abstract/Book Review

Children who have experienced early relational trauma in the realms of neglect and abuse may go on to develop a range of dissociative states of being as a consequence or as a defence. Child psychotherapists are frequently referred children struggling with such a legacy, yet for historical reasons dissociation is notably absent from the psychoanalytic literature and not a formal part of our professional training. This thesis aims to illuminate how dissociative children may present in psychotherapy session s and to assess whether there are indications that traditional psychoanalytic child psychotherapy technique may need adjusting if treatment is to be most effective. Current theory regarding the aetiology of dissociative pathology is presented including the significant contributions from attachment and neuroscience research, and the slender view offered by psychoanalytic theory is elucidated. Case histories of two of the three participant children are presented with specific reference to attachment and trauma. Process recording notes from the psychotherapy of all three dissociative children are subjected to thematic analysis to arrive at two sets of patient and therapist related themes which are then recursively discussed in fine detail to determine what evidence the material provides. The conclusion is drawn that whilst dissociative children present with so me distinct difficulties, these do not dominate the therapeutic endeavour and are largely similar to the presentation of traumatised and attachment disordered patients with whom child psychotherapists are very familiar. Furthermore it is suggested that whilst child psychotherapists treating dissociative children should consider psychoeducuative, organising and validating interventions, their core psychoanalytic skills of withstanding and analysing hostile and perverse transference material, together with their experience in creatively bringing all parts of the self to the child's conscious awareness are central to helping dissociative children recover.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the Professional Doctorate in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Uncontrolled Keywords: M80, M80T
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Abuse & Neglect - Psychology
Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Personality Disorders (e.g. narcissism)
Emotions, Affective Psychology > Attachment/Affectional Bonds
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Depositing User: Ms Linda Dolben
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2015 14:38
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2017 13:46
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1120

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