A recent post on PsychologyToday.com entitled “Revisiting Child Psychoanalysis,” asks the question, “Why are young children in therapy without their parents?” The author, Claudia Gold, MD, a child analyst, was prompted to write the article after attending a presentation and panel discussion at the 2018 APsaA convention. This particular program, “The Name of the Piggle,” was organized by CPC faculty member Dr. Vera Camden, and was a reconsideration of D.W. Winnicott’s famous case study on the analysis of a little girl nicknamed “The Piggle.”
The program, a presentation by Deborah Luepnitz with a response by Justine Reeves, included past interviews with the grown up Piggle, whose real name is Gabrielle. Having read “The Piggle” Dr. Gold knew that Gabrielle’s mother did not accompany her to sessions with Dr. Winnicott, so she inquired of the presenters, why not? This led to a debate about the advisability of parental involvement in child analysis. In the article Dr. Gold presents a case of her own that illustrates the utility of treating the parent and child together, and in the following quote from the article she summarizes some of the supporting research.
But contemporary developmental science offers abundant evidence of the value of treating parent and child together. Arietta Slade’s compelling work illuminates the role of facilitating parental reflective functioning as I describe in my book, Keeping Your Child in Mind. Ed Tronick’s mutual regulation model, which he developed out of decades of observational research with infants and parents, shows us that healing and growth occur by repairing the countless moment-to-moment mismatches in the relationship between child and caregiver.
Dr. Gold concludes that Winnicott saw Gabrielle alone because that is how adult psychoanalysis is conducted, and at that time, practitioners were concerned that child analysis be considered true analysis.