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Psychodynamic child psychotherapy 

Psychodynamic child psychotherapy
Psychodynamic child psychotherapy

Peter Fonagy

and Mary Target

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date: 27 January 2022

Psychodynamic psychotherapy for children is based on a range of assumptions concerning mental functioning that have gradually evolved over the past 100 years out of the theories of Sigmund Freud. As these assumptions have been widely reviewed, we provide only a very brief introduction here. Techniques of child therapy differ considerably depending on the degree of pathology manifested by the child. Two sets of technique may be distinguished: those with single diagnosis, usually involving anxiety, are offered what most would recognize as ‘classical’ forms of psychodynamic, insight-oriented therapy. Those with multiple diagnoses, severe behavioural problems and/or emergent personality disorders require a different psychodynamic treatment approach. These will be discussed separately. Indications, contraindications, and the selection of procedures are then covered, as is managing treatment, efficacy, and limitations of the psychotherapeutic approach.

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