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10: A Boy With a Gentle Heart: Inside and Outside the Father's Head

Hugo Marquez Harris Meltzer Trust ePub


Rodolfo Picciulin

I receive a message on my telephone answering machine: ‘This is Mr S speaking. I'd like an appointment with the doctor’ (and leaves his phone number). It's a strong yet soft voice with a peremptory tone; I imagine it belongs to a man of between 45 and 50 years of age). When I call back to arrange an appointment the person tells me he has got my name from his doctor, but says nothing about his reason for seeking a consultation and I make no inquiries.

First consultation with Luca

Mr S comes to the first appointment in the company of a sixteen or seventeen-year-old boy. I ask them to take a seat in the big room where I do group therapy and Mr S starts talking. He's a big, robust man with a glowing complexion. The boy sitting next to him is long-limbed and neat, and looks intelligent. The man begins by saying he's come because of something that happened two years ago and that it has to do with him but he prefers his son to talk about it. He's thought it worth coming to me despite the long period of time that has intervened. At the time they had been advised to have some family therapy but later believed it wasn't necessary to pursue the idea. Mr S says it's his son's problem, which is why he's brought him to me. Finally I grasp who the youngster is sitting next to him.

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12: Current Considerations on Autism

Hugo Marquez Harris Meltzer Trust ePub


Donald Meltzer

Twenty years ago, I happened to write with a group a book called Explorations in Autism. It was such a bad experience that I vowed never to repeat it. I must acknowledge I'm not good at organising groups, and on that occasion rather than a proper group this was a set of highly independent persons; I found myself in the role of a slave master to keep them all together; eventually I wrote the entire book by myself, which is why I vowed I'd never undertake the experience of writing a book with a group again.

An important thing that emerged is that in actual fact autism is very difficult to define, consisting of a lot of disparate points that need to be brought together. In fact, not only do autistic children differ extremely from one another, but the psychoanalytical process that is established also varies from case to case. What we did during those months of work was to take into consideration the different variety of material we had at our disposal, to try to come to a definition of a pure concept of autism. Some of the notions created then have proved their validity in time, they have survived, while others have been replaced.

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CHAPTER ONE Mário and his stories

Marisa Pelella Melega Harris Meltzer Trust PDF


Mário and his stories


ário was referred to me aged eleven years and nine months, and his treatment lasted around seven years, monitored over most of that time by Donald

Meltzer, with a review of the case eighteen years later. The following narrative will demonstrate the steps taken toward building an analytical relationship with the boy, and testify to the analyst’s emotions in the face of the difficulty of establishing a link that could evolve into a growth relationship. When

Mário came to me for analysis, I knew that he had severe difficulties in getting in touch with reality and a strong learning disorder and, when he was almost two years old, presented with autistic behaviour, according to a clinical assessment made by a neurologist at the time.

Mário’s developmental history

From the very beginning of his life Mário’s fragility in his object relations was clear: he had difficulty in taking his mother’s nipple, took too long to suck; his mother had the impression that he didn’t like feeding until at two years of age, he started to


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11: A baby observation: the absent object

Esther Bick Harris Meltzer Trust ePub


An account of how a baby, during his first year, used the observer in tandem with his mother in order to symbolise first the bad object and then the absent object, enabling him to form first an almost hallucinatory and then an internal picture alongside her coming and going.

From quite early on, even a few weeks—as soon as a baby becomes aware of there being a diference between himself and the breast, his mouth and the nipple, himself and the mother—the problem of separation becomes observable. How does the baby let the object go; and how does he deal with this in the mind? Long before a baby is actually weaned from the breast, some sort of weaning process is taking place or failing to take place, with every separation from the mother. In the first baby I have in mind, it is the use of the eyes which is revealing of aspects of this problem. The observer, who had been watching him develop for over a year, had been struck by the diferent uses that he made of his eyes. This baby was born to a Japanese mother and an Australian father, both of whom were temporary immigrants to London. The observer saw the mother before the baby was born, and found her a very charming, pretty little woman, greatly looking forward to having a baby. But in fact she had a terrible time during her labour, because she was very small and this was a very big baby.

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8 Made in Hampstead and exported throughout the world: Germany and Austria

Maria Rhode Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Ross A. Lazar

Leaving London and the Tavistock after studying and working there so intensively for more than seven years was not an easy thing for me to do. But having qualifed as a psychoanalytic child and adolescent psychotherapist under the superb guidance and professional expertise of Mattie Harris as course organizer, mentor and “motherly friend”, it was finally time for me to move on. And because of my “previous life” as a student of the History of Art and German Language and Literature in Munich – not to mention the fact that it is my wife’s home – Munich was a logical place to look to in order to open the next chapter in our lives. This part of the decision was made easier by the worsening economic conditions in England at the end of the 1970s, the advent of Margaret Tatcher, and the fact that Germany was booming and greatly in need of well-trained child psychotherapists. Trough a great stroke of luck, I was offered a job at the Biederstein Zentrum, a newly opened outpatient clinic for child and adolescent psychotherapy which Professor Jochen Stork – a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst trained in Paris – had established the previous year in the medical faculty of the Technical University of Munich. But how to even think about leaving the relatively safe haven of the Tavi, of both orthodox Kleinian and the invigorating developments in “post-Kleinian” thinking and practice (as it was coming to be referred to back then), and go out into a strange world to attempt to practice psychoanalytic psychotherapy in a foreign language with children and adolescents whose backgrounds and life circumstances were so very different from my own? The idea both daunted and terrified me! But the decision had been made: we were going. In my insecurity and anxiety, I turned to Mattie to ask for advice, to gain support, and to assuage my fears that I was making a big mistake.

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