The compensation of autistic features during a little boy’s second year: overcoming pain through the development of attachment



The paper is devoted to the research of early development of a little child with autistic features, reared in an orphanage. His development was followed with help of two methods: a method of an ethological observation and a method of a psychoanalytical infant observation elaborated by Esther Bick. At the beginning of the observation the little boy’s intense desire for a close contact with an adult could not be realized because of his intolerance of a tiny barrier in the contact and of fixation of the most archaic ways of the contact. In the paper the development of attachment between the boy and the observers under conditions of regular but not often and restricted in time contacts is depicted step by step. The observation helped to develop the boy’s symbolic activity and his ability to save a good emotional experience in close emotional contacts with adults and built a basis for his further balanced mental development. The key patterns which allowed the boy to overcome his autistic state and to form the attachment are illustrated by photographs.

General Information

Keywords: Early development, an orphanage, ethological observation, psychoanalytical infant observation, autism, attachment, symbolic activity

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

For citation: Bardyshevskaya M.K. The compensation of autistic features during a little boy’s second year: overcoming pain through the development of attachment. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2013. Vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 190–220. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Marina K. Bardyshevskaya, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Neuro- and Pathopsychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Member of the Board of the Charitable Foundation for Social Assistance and Support named after. Janusz Korczak. Member of the Russian Psychological Society., Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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