Association for Child Psychoanalysis
About the Field of Psychoanalysis
The psychoanalytic point of view stresses the importance of understanding the inner world of the individual. Psychoanalysts recognize that development at all ages results from the complex interaction of body and mind, endowment and upbringing, the impact of family, community and culture. We seek to expand knowledge of the roles of physical health, parenting, emotions, trauma, and education in personality development and functioning.
Clinical and developmental research indicates that past experiences influence the present and that these may be distorted by immature developmental and cognitive abilities. It also demonstrates that there are factors outside of an individual’s (adult or child) awareness which affect the person’s thinking and behavior (unconscious mental activity). When these factors give rise to interferences in development, symptoms of conflict or anxiety, child psychoanalysts offer insight, understanding and treatment.
Child psychoanalysts are experts in many modalities of psychological treatment of children, adolescents, and their families. Analysts may consult with the child’s family or with the child or adolescent individually. In instances where a child’s or adolescent’s unconscious mental activity adversely affects his or her current functioning and ability to progress, psychoanalytic treatment can assist in discovering and mastering inner obstacles and past traumatic experiences.