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Thinking lest we be forced to remember: rebuilding a mind to think, play with and forget thoughts about trauma in a 10-year-old boy

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Published in Journal of Child Psychotherapy. 2013, vol. 39, no. 2, p. 189-205
Abstract This paper retraces the steps in the recovery of a capacity for thinking in a boy who was five at the time his mother was tragically murdered by his father and almost 11 years old when he began psychoanalytic psychotherapy. It describes the emotional and technical difficulties of working psychotherapeutically when there seemed to be neither the thoughts nor the words with which to engage and experience the mental pain that lay frozen behind his eyes. I describe in detail the slow unfolding of a process in which Michael appeared to be quite literally rebuilding the structure and internal space of his mind in his play and in the transference. He needed to repair his internal thinking apparatus and recover his capacity for containment before he could house his own traumatic feelings and thoughts and think about them with me. The commensal relationship of container and contained grew out of tolerating unbearable amounts of doubt (W.R. Bion, Learning from Experience, London: Heinemann, 1962) in the transference–countertransference. This was only possible through the triangular space provided by the presence of an analyst and a supervisor in my mind and the generous support provided by colleagues and Michael's dedicated grandparents.
Keywords Psychoanalytic psychotherapyContainmentNegative capabilityForgetting
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Research group Dimensions relationnelles et affectives de l'éducation et de la formation
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FRANCHI, Vije Elodia. Thinking lest we be forced to remember: rebuilding a mind to think, play with and forget thoughts about trauma in a 10-year-old boy. In: Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 2013, vol. 39, n° 2, p. 189-205. doi: 10.1080/0075417X.2013.806055 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:38577

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Deposited on : 2014-07-10

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