58 Chapters
Medium 9781855752559

CHAPTER FOUR. Mainly the child

Brafman, A.H. Karnac Books ePub

It can be difficult to evaluate the precise role that some parents play in the joint interview. The three children in this chapter were chosen because of the rich meanings conveyed in their drawings, but it is interesting to note how differently their parents reacted to the interview and to the child’s participation.

“Georgia’s” mother followed with great attention each step of the interview, and her participation was effective and timely. Georgia felt protected by her mother, and she often checked how attentive her mother was to my questions, as if needing her permission to answer them. Someone might hypothesize that I was seen as a potential attacker, much as the circumstances—an attack by a dog—that had brought her to the interview. Mrs G was immensely at ease and appeared content to follow Georgia’s cues. However interested Mrs G was, the most important elements of the consultation came from Georgia’s drawings. As will be seen, these are an example of the superimposed pictures described in chapter two. Looking at the superimposed image, Georgia could understand immediately why the dog’s attack had produced such traumatic effects on her. It seems that seeing what her unconscious had made of the experience was sufficient for her nightmares and fears to disappear.

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Medium 9781910977088

BETH

Brafman, A.H. Editora Karnac ePub

A mãe desta menina de 10 anos procurou ajuda porque não conseguia mais aguentar o grau e frequência de seus desafios e revoltas. Um filho mais velho e duas filhas menores foram descritos como tranquilos e amáveis, conquanto Beth frequentemente provocava as irmãs com brigas e discussões. Em contraste, Beth não apresentava problemas na escola e tinha uma vida social normal e bem ativa com amigos e vizinhos.

Ficamos sabendo que a Sra. B havia se divorciado de seu marido pouco depois do nascimento da última filha. Eles continuaram a manter uma relação amistosa e a Sra. B parecia até gostar da nova esposa de seu ex-marido. Mas das quatro crianças, Beth era a única que sentia saudades dos dias em que tinha a companhia de seu pai. A Sra. B descreveu uma ocasião recente em que ela ficara tão zangada com Beth que havia pedido ao Sr. B que a levasse para sua casa por alguns dias. Aparentemente, Beth adorou isso e seu comportamento em casa melhorou – por alguns dias.

Quando vi Beth, achei bem difícil estabelecer um diálogo com ela. Fiquei sabendo que sua mãe havia lhe dito que a razão por que vinham me ver era para discutir comigo qual seria a melhor escola para fazer seu curso ginasial. Acontece que Beth estava satisfeita com a escola que já havia escolhido e tinha certeza de que conseguiria uma vaga. Gradualmente, conseguimos ampliar o campo de nossa conversa e Beth me disse que tanto ela como seus irmãos estavam bem felizes com a separação de seus pais, uma vez que haviam permanecido bons amigos, enquanto que, quando viviam juntos, brigavam violentamente o tempo todo.

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Medium 9781855758285

Chapter Nine: Holding, containing, interpretations: a question of timing?<a href="#ch09f1"><sup>*</sup></a>

Brafman, A.H. Karnac Books ePub

As time goes by, the words ‘holding’ and ‘containing’ are used with ever increasing frequency in clinical discussions. Is there a difference between them? They certainly seem to be used as if they were synonymous. For example, Casement (1985, p. 133) writes:

In more human terms, what is needed is a form of holding, such as a mother gives to her distressed child. There are various ways in which one adult can offer to another this holding (or containment). And it can be crucial for a patient to be thus held in order to recover, or to discover maybe for the first time, a capacity for managing life and life’s difficulties without continued avoidance or suppression.

‘Holding’ and ‘containing’ seem to have become something like a mark of excellence to describe a laudable posture on the part of the analyst/therapist towards his patient. In the past, an analyst was considered ‘good’ if he quoted a successful interpretation of his patient’s material. This still rates highly enough, but the failure to produce ‘a good interpretation’ is usually forgiven or even thought to be not so important, as long as the therapist is showing his patient tolerance, patience, emotional support—qualities which are now taken as ‘holding’ or ‘containing’ the patient’s anxieties.

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Medium 9781855757035

Chapter Thirteen: Divorce

Brafman, A.H. Karnac Books ePub

Does it really matter how old is the child when parents divorce? The answer is a clear no. We live in an age where campaigners argue that a child needs the care, not necessarily the presence, as father and mother, of the couple who conceived them. This is definitely not what life has taught me. Freud did not invent the Oedipus complex, and whoever first put forward Adam and Eve as prototypical figures of a parental couple, the fact is that all cultures throughout centuries retained this image of a man and a woman not only as bearers of children but also as the guardians who brought them up, ensuring that generations of human beings were perpetuated. However, human beings are subject to contradictory feelings and impulses that can lead them to form pairings of the same sex and also to consider that the pairing that led to the birth of a child does not bind them to each other forever. What about the feelings of the child caught up in these fluctuations of the parents’ impulses?

Religious couples may resign themselves to staying on in a marriage that they no longer believe is viable, and similar principles are followed by many non-religious couples. For many decades now there has been an increase in the number of broken marriages and of couples who conceive children in the context of relationships that neither of them believes is a long-term proposition. This has led to an increase in the number of single-parent families and much research is still being conducted to study how these circumstances affect the long-term emotional development of the children involved.

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Medium 9781855757035

Chapter Seven: Problems with peers

Brafman, A.H. Karnac Books ePub

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of school life. The “typical” 5-10-year-old will not usually give a full report of school events, particularly when starting at a new school. When first joining primary school, the child is aware of plunging into a new world and comparisons with family life are inevitable. Sometimes, the experiences of nursery school make this transition easier, but now classes are bigger and adult supervision tends to be well below the ideal level. Whether the child goes to a local authority school or to a private one, the chances are that he will meet a much wider range of children, many of whom feel insecure and are keen to “score points” that might heighten self-esteem and produce some sense of good status and self-confidence. If your child happens to dislike confrontations and conflict, he may feel intimidated by these new encounters. Sadly, this spells trouble, because the children who go in for tormenting and “scoring points” promptly feel in a position of power, having discovered someone they can bully.

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