The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma

The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma

The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma

The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma

Excerpt

It was pure luck that I heard about the profession of child and adolescent psychotherapy while I was still at university and was able to start training at the Tavistock Clinic as soon as I graduated. The rigour, attention to detail and carefully considered observational skills that I soaked up during my Kleinian training formed the bedrock of my way of working. After qualifying I was extremely fortunate to have many years of supervision with Frances Tustin who, in her typically generous and free thinking way, encouraged me to develop my ideas about work with traumatised children and to write about them. She was a wonderful example of open-mindedness and curiosity about the many different ways that there are to think about psychoanalytic work and indeed life in general, and this attitude has had a great influence on my work.

Conversations with colleagues as well as reading about Independent, Jungian and Anna Freudian theory and practice have greatly enriched my way of conceptualising what takes place in the consulting room. This has enabled me to value these different approaches as well as to feel comfortable with the diversity of thought that is required when trying to work with a wide variety of patients. Winnicott's writings have been particularly helpful and illuminating for me and I have returned to them time and again and found more richness and resonance with my experiences in the consulting room on each occasion.

These influences have confirmed my view that psychotherapy with children and adolescents today cannot operate from a 'one size fits all' perspective. As a consequence, some of the ideas in the chapters that follow, which I hope the reader will feel stimulated by and feel free to play with, may be unusual to some but not to others.

Writing papers and now this book has provided me with many wonderful opportunities to discuss psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a number of generous and thoughtful colleagues. They have read the original papers, read the new versions of the papers that have become chapters in this book, and given me helpful and frank feedback, which I have valued greatly. Some have contributed clinical material or observational material that has

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