Child & Adolescent Psychoanalysis

Child and adolescent psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic (or psychodynamic) psychotherapy are specialized approaches to working with children, adolescents, and their families.

An evolving empirical literature supporting the efficacy of psychoanalytic approaches to the treatment of children and adolescents has made important contributions to our understanding of how children and adolescents can be helped by this approach.

Psychoanalytic treatment helps the child or adolescent understand and manage feelings more effectively; recognize and change poor coping strategies; and re-examine negative feelings about himself and others. The goal of treatment is not simply to overcome immediate troubles but to help each child or adolescent reach his or her full potential in all areas of life and to build a deep, long-lasting strength and resilience.

Much of this work is accomplished by building a strong, trusting relationship with the analyst who becomes a partner with the child and the family in understanding the child’s struggles and capabilities.

Child and adolescent analysis relies heavily on work with the parents during every phase of the treatment. In addition to helping the child return to the path of normal, healthy development, child psychoanalysis aims to strengthen and restore the relationship between the child and parents to a more normal, loving and mutually gratifying one.

Consultation with a child and adolescent analyst can help determine whether or not this form of treatment would be best suited for a child’s unique needs.

Who is a Child and Adolescent Analyst?

Child and adolescent analysts are mental health professionals with an advanced degree in a mental health field and extensive additional training in understanding child development and how a child or adolescent’s mind works.

By virtue of their training, child analysts are particularly sensitive to the multiple (including biological, genetic, neurological, familial, and social) factors that influence a child’s personality development. Child analysts are mindful of the importance of developing an integrated understanding of the complex interaction of all these factors in determining each child’s unique developmental trajectory. This understanding can then be used in developing an individualized treatment plan specifically tailored for each child’s particular needs.

Child and adolescent psychoanalysts are also trained to be particularly attuned to the importance of the parent-child relationship to the developing child. As a result, they view active collaboration with parents as a crucial aspect of the treatment.