News from the American Psychoanalytic Association Integrating Child and Adult Analysis: the New York Meeting
by Janis Baeuerlen, MD, Co-Chair, Committee on Child Analysis
A national child and adolescent psychoanalytic congress convened in New York preceding the APsaA meetings to address how analytic programs can integrate exposure to child work and development more effectively. At a time when the IPA has initiated its first-ever committee on child analysis, child programs in institutes of the APsaA are struggling against unexamined reluctance from both sides – those that seek to keep child work undiluted, and those that do not see its relevance for adult work. Child analysts sometimes fear a dilution of their discussions if adult analysts participate in a less sophisticated way about child thinking and technique. Adult analysts may think that there is already enough to think and learn about without adding the complications of dealing with smaller patients who come to treatment with real parents in tow.
At the congress a number of proposals were made, many of which are already in place at SFCP including: having child analysts on all major committees, having a vibrant child-adult case conference for all adult candidates, and encouraging the use of child cases and literature in adult analytic seminars.
There are other changes that we could make. For example, on admission to analytic training, one institute of the APsaA asks the newly admitted candidate whether she/he wants to be in the child-only track, the adult-only track, or the combined track. In this way the Admissions Committee takes a more active role in making the candidates aware of the institute’s serious commitment to child training. Other institutes make sure that, in all scientific meeting presentations, both an adult analyst and a child analyst are discussants.
We hope that the meeting will stimulate a more comprehensive discussion here about child analysis and its value for the training of adult candidates. Child analysts have as much to offer for suffering children (and their parents) as adult analysts have to offer for suffering adults.