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The Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildReview - The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child
Volume 64
by Robert A. King, Samuel Abrams, A. Scott Dowling and Paul M. Brinich
Yale University Press, 2010
Review by Rudy Oldeschulte
Jan 4th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 1)

"Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self."  Erich Fromm

The initial essay in this latest volume of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child presents the idea of reading and writing about Hans Loewald as a 'private passion.' While I may be stretching the author's point here, I would suggest that our continued attention to the annual volumes of The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child may amount to one of our 'private passions.' That is to say, the PSC has endeavored over its decades of publication to remain the stalwart of child psychoanalytic ideas and writing, incorporating new perspectives and hailing the historical contributions in the field. The PSC has persisted throughout the lives of many of the major psychoanalytic thinkers - Anna Freud, Otto Fenichel, Edward Glover, Phyllis Greenacre, Heinz Hartmann, and Ernst Kris -- to name only a few of the individuals responsible for bringing our psychoanalytic knowledge forward. 

As rich and diverse as each volume has been over the years, this newest volume will not  disappoint the reader.  It presents current work on the development of creativity and play - with application of their place in clinical treatment, a fascinating essay on the treatment of trauma in children, and a particularly splendid re-visiting of the contributions of Hansi Kennedy - the long-time friend and colleague of Anna Freud. These latter essays focus on Hansi and Anna Freud's work at the Anna Freud Centre (formerly the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic), and sketch the Centre's beginnings in the war nurseries caring for orphaned babies and children during the London bombings. 

The importance of Hans Loewald's work is well presented by Frances Lang, detailing the musicality of Loewald's ideas and his allegiance to Freud throughout Loewald's career.  She focuses on the 'legitimacy of transference,' and the meanings of the transferences that Loewald experienced in relation to Freud -- these transferences evident in all of Loewald's writings. 

In a fascinating paper on imaginative play, creativity, and what the author refers to as 'generative identity,' Joan Raphael-Leff explores and suggests the genesis of the creative process.  Noting Freud's query as posed in his essay Creative Writers and Day-dreaming (1908), and his reference to the "dreamer in broad daylight," she elucidates Freud's wish to explain the source of creativity, but also his puzzlement at how this occurs, commenting on the way that the 'dreamer' makes "such an impression upon us…and to arouse in us emotions, of which, perhaps, we had not even thought ourselves capable."  Freud sought first to look at the first evidence of imaginative play in childhood, drawing a comparison of the child at play and the creative writer -"creating a world of his own."  Raphael-Leff's paper is rich in its use of historical and literary sources to illustrate her original ideas about generative identity and the genesis of the creative process. Her work is indeed rich and provocative for our continued effort in understanding this extraordinary phenomenon of creativity. 

In an original work by Lenore Terr, the concept of 'context' is introduced in relation to working with children that have been traumatized.  There are few writers that have studied trauma and its effects developmentally on children as diligently as Lenore Terr, and her work on 'context' in the treatment of traumatized children was initially introduced to the psychiatric literature just a few years ago.  She provides the psychoanalytic community with an essay that introduces the historical perspective on the understanding of, and current treatment models of trauma, and elucidates these concepts with several illustrative clinical examples. 

The work of Hansi Kennedy reviewed in this volume sheds new light on how her work with other 'trainees,' all working with Anna Freud in the War Nurseries, provided the impetus for the beginning of the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic (now the Anna Freud Centre).  Their studies, published at the time in a series of pamphlets, papers, and a volume by Anna Freud, attest to what is referred to as 'revolutionary' research studies at that time -- a time of war, turmoil, incredible separation of parents and their children, and fear and loss amongst the citizens of a country.  As the authors point out, the knowledge we take for granted in our comprehending issues of trauma, of separation and their effect on personality development, were not familiar tenants of our psychodynamic understanding of children at that time.  Hansi Kennedy was a leader in this work and brought her experience to bear on further developments in the theoretical and clinical fields of psychoanalysis.  She demonstrated an attitude of always learning from the material of students and colleagues and with this professional stance, always provided support and encouragement to those around her at the Clinic.  The revisiting of her early work in this volume of the PSC (previously unpublished) is a delight to read -- particularly for those that knew Hansi and worked closely with her at the Centre. 


© 2011 Rudy Oldeschulte


Rudy Oldeschulte trained in psychoanalysis with Anna Freud and her colleagues in London, and in law at DePaul University. He now teaches psychology, ethics, and law.


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