A psychoanalytic framework for interpreting young child observations that integrates emotional and cognitive development

Shaw, Janet (2019) A psychoanalytic framework for interpreting young child observations that integrates emotional and cognitive development. Early Child Development and Care . ISSN 0300-4430 (Print); 1476-8275 (Electronic)

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Abstract

The paper looks at the relevance of W.R. Bion’s ‘Theory of Thinking’ to the interpretation of young child observations. Bion describes a process whereby emotional experience, when contained by a caregiver, gives rise to a capacity for symbol formation, which is at the root of imagination and language. The study consists of eight written hour-long observations of pre-school children which form the data for the study. The data were analysed using template analysis. The results indicate that all children in the study communicated primitive feelings to adults who were contained to a greater or lesser extent. All children demonstrated some capacity for representing their feelings through symbol formation, but this could break down when frustration levels were high. Bion’s Theory of Thinking was found to be highly applicable and relevant to the interpretation of the young child observations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Received 12 Nov 2019, Accepted 25 Nov 2019, Published online: 06 Dec 2019
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotional Development, Cognitive Development, Bion's Theory Of Thinking, Projective Identification, Containment, Symbol Formation, Tavistock Method Of Observation
Subjects: Schools of Psychology > Bion, Wilfred
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Emotions
Cognitive Processes, Theory of Mind > Cognitive Processes
Cognitive Processes, Theory of Mind > Symbolism
Department/People: Visiting Lecturer
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2162

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