TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2010, 8:00 pm
THE LEVY-GOLDFARB LECTURE IN CHILD PSYCHOANALYSIS
IS EGO PSYCHOLOGY IRRELEVANT TO CLINICAL CHILD PSYCHOANALYSIS?
This talk examines the current disrepute that Ego Psychology engenders among many contemporary analysts. The abstract meta-psychology associated with Ego Psychology has been so clinically distant that many analysts either do not know how to or are disinterested in translating these terms into clinically meaningful ideas. Hartmann's and Rapaport's goal of making psychoanalysis into a general psychology has also fallen into disrepute as unnecessary, impossible, or at odds with the essence of psychoanalysis. Ironically, the mother-infant model used as a theory of mutative action by many contemporary schools has emerged only because of early fostering of infant research by Ego Psychology. The talk will explore important tenets of Ego Psychology which set the stage for the application of the concepts of mentalization or theory of mind, both of which are ego functions which allow mutative action. Child psychoanalysis occurs by promoting derailed or incompletely developed mentalization in patients; this process is termed promoting insightfulness in the clinical encounter and is a shift from traditional emphases on providing insight into repressed mental content. When the focus is shifted to enhancing this function, verbal interpretation loses its privileged status and other ways of promoting insightfulness with children assume functional equality. Play, the relationship with the analyst, and the analyst's use of action become just as legitimate interventions as verbal interpretations.