What place do Anna Freud’s ideas have in the history of psychoanalysis? What can her writings teach us today about how to work therapeutically with children? Are her psychoanalytic ideas still relevant to those entrusted with the welfare of infants and young people?

Reading Anna Freud provides an accessible introduction to the writings of one of the most significant figures in the history of psychoanalysis. Each chapter introduces a number of her key papers, with clear summaries of the main ideas, historical background, a discussion of the influence and contemporary relevance of her thinking, and recommendations for further reading.

Areas covered include Anna Freud’s writings on:

• The theory and practice of child analysis and 'developmental therapy'
• The application of psychoanalytic thinking to education, paediatrics and the law
• The assessment and diagnosis of childhood disorders
• Psychoanalytic research and developmental psychopathology

Nick Midgley draws on his extensive experience as a child psychotherapist and a teacher to bring Anna Freud's ideas to life. He illustrates the remarkable originality of her thinking, and shows how analytic ideas can be used not only in child psychotherapy, but also to inform the care of children in families, hospitals, classrooms, residential care and the court-room.

Reading Anna Freud will be of interest to child therapists, child analysts and psychoanalysts, as well as others working in the field of child and adolescent mental health, such as clinical psychologists, child psychiatrists and educational psychologists. It also has much to offer to those entrusted with the care of children in a wide range of settings - including teachers, nurses and social workers - for whom Anna Freud was always keen to demonstrate the value of a psychoanalytic approach.

Nick Midgley trained as a child and adolescent psychotherapist at the Anna Freud Centre, where he now works as a clinician and as Programme Director for the MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice. Nick has written articles on a wide range of topics and is joint editor of Minding the Child: Mentalization-based Interventions with Children, Young People and their Families (Routledge, 2012) and Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Directions, Emerging Findings (Routledge, 2009).


chapter 2|14 pages

Psychoanalysis with children

chapter 4|15 pages

The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence

chapter 5|14 pages

The Hampstead War Nurseries

chapter 7|17 pages

The psychoanalytic treatment of adults

chapter 9|15 pages

Developmental psychopathology

chapter 10|21 pages

Child analysis and developmental therapy

chapter 12|15 pages

Children and family law

chapter 13|8 pages

Conclusion: The legacy of Anna Freud