Child Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy



Background: at present psychotherapy is a well-accepted method of psychological work with children and adolescents who have emotional problems. This article describes issues of psychoanalytical psychotherapy with children. Objective: systematic review of therapeutic components in a child psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Design: The article describes specifics of child psychoanalytical psychotherapy. Different issues are discussed: goal and subject of psychotherapy, parameters important for psychological diagnostics, a child’s way to let his/her emotions become known are discussed. The child’s communications about his/her subjective picture of the world are answered by a therapist. Professional answers are: analytic relationships, verbalization, containing, and so on. The discussion of components of childhood psychoanalytical psychotherapy in the article is accompanied by a clinical example of psychoanalytical work with a pediatric patient. The article presents sessions with the child that “shows” the content of a psychoanalytic process. It allows a reader to clearly see the process of a child psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Results: psychoanalytic psychotherapy as completed led to important results. The psychological work made the manifestation of symptoms in the child not necessary. Feelings now could be expressed by words, and not by actions or symptoms. The symbolic function of the boy’s psyche could now take over concrete expressions. Conclusions: The article shows the ability of a child psychoanalytical psychotherapy to bring changes in a child’s personality. As a result of a psychoanalytic psychotherapy a child would learn to cope with difficult sides of his/her experience, and not to reject them by symptoms.

General Information

Keywords: psychoanalytic psychotherapy, children and adolescents, subjective world of a person, verbalization, analytic relationship

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Vasilyeva N.L. Child Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2018. Vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 70–82. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Nina L. Vasilyeva, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Child and Parent Mental Health and Early Intervention Chair, Department of Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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