The analysis of children and adolescents is an exciting and creative enterprise. It provides unique insights into the developing mind of the child. The treatment is based on the same principles and theory of mind as adult analysis. However, it is also guided by a very careful and thorough understanding of each child’s particular developmental stage, capacities and needs.
Many children already have complicated inner disturbances that derive from their particular endowment and complex early experiences. These become woven into unconscious fantasy constellations that then interfere with ongoing development. These constellations take much time to unravel and first require the careful building up of a trusting relationship between child and analyst.
Recent research has impressively shown the great advantage of the intensity of psychoanalytic treatment, even with very young children, for many of the anxiety disorders, as well as for the more severe behavior and relational disturbances of childhood. The research highlights that the intensity of treatment (four times a week) allows the child and adolescent the necessary continuity and strength of relationship with the analyst to bring to light and fully explore deeply hidden fears and anxieties.
Faculty and supervisors are fully trained and experienced in child and adolescent assessment and analysis. Many originally trained in London with Anna Freud. Graduates receive a certificate in psychoanalysis and are qualified to join the Association for Child Psychoanalysis.
In addition to the requirements for Adult Psychoanalytic Training, candidates choosing a concentration in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis will conduct:
- at least two supervised cases under age 20 at different stages of development (under-five, latency, adolescence, emerging adulthood), and wherever possible of different sexes;
- treatment of these supervised cases for a period of at least one year at 3-5 times per week frequency for a total, across all cases, of 150 hours of supervision;
- one supervised case of working with parents (can be parents of an analytic case) of at least six months’ duration;
- supervision and evaluation normally conducted weekly for at least 40 sessions per year
- clinical and theoretical seminars in Child and Adolescent psychoanalysis, including development, psychopathology and technique, and including those ethical principles and procedures which apply specifically to the treatment of children and adolescents.
Candidates concentrating in Child/Adolescent Psychoanalytic Training are required to participate for at least one academic year in Advanced seminar in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis that is co-sponsored with the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis, and are strongly encouraged to participate in the seminar for more than one year;
Candidates concentrating in Child/Adolescent Psychoanalytic Training are strongly encouraged to participate in an Infant Observation Seminar of at least one year. Infant observation is an experiential form of learning designed to help candidates develop an awareness of internal and external forces very germane to child but also adult treatment. Infant Observation develops the candidate’s capacity to tolerate not knowing how to evaluate all of the information that a clinician encounters in a therapeutic situation. Observations of an infant in his/her family are discussed and learned about through close process analysis. For example, the Anni Bergman Parent-Infant Program, a program affiliated with CFS-PTI in NY, regularly has videoconference opportunities in which candidates can participate.