Dreams and play in child analysis today

Rustin, Margaret (2012) Dreams and play in child analysis today. In: The significance of dreams: Bridging clinical and extraclinical research in psychoanalysis. Developments in Psychoanalysis . Karnac Books, London, pp. 17-30. ISBN 9781780490502

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To approach the topic of children's dreaming in a psychoanalytic context the links between dream and play have to be our starting point. While in adult analysis there can be continuing robust debate about the centrality of dreams for understanding unconscious life, we are working in a different register with children. When looking at the place of dreams in contemporary analytic work with children, there seems to me to be a number of matters to consider in exploring possible factors at work. Probably the most significant of all is the changing composition of the patients seen for child analysis. The patients now seen for child analysis in the UK in NHS clinics include children on the autistic spectrum and with developmental delay, but the larger number have histories of severe maltreatment in their early years, including both deprivation and neglect, and physical emotional, and sexual abuse. Children with such damaging early experiences tend to have difficulties in symbolic activity. A second factor may be the changing nature of parent-child relationships over the last two generations. A third phenomenon which may be at work is the impact of the intensely visual quality of contemporary culture. I will look in detail at some clinical material and I will touch on what emerged from my explorations of recent psychoanalytic writing about dreams.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dreams, Child Analysis, Symbolism, Visual Contemporary Culture, Parent Child Relationships, Deprivation, Child Neglect, Child Abuse
Subjects: Subconscious & Unconscious, Personality > Dreams
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/633

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