ABSTRACT

One of the earliest published papers about a child’s treatment was Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy (Freud, 1909b), often referred as Little Hans. Little Hans’s analysis holds a special place in the history of child psychoanalysis, as it was the first case study of an infantile neurosis; however, the material was not retrieved from a reconstruction of an adult analysis, but rather was a treatment conducted by the father through Sigmund Freud’s instructions. Little Hans’s castration anxiety (his presenting symptom) and his Oedipus complex were interpreted by Freud through his understanding of his work with adult patients. Because Freud conducted the whole treatment via the father, there was no real elaboration of child analytic technique, thus confusion developed as future child analysts attempted to differentiate child guidance/parent education from child analysis. It was felt, at that time, that a troubled child was helped through his parents. Child analysts did not have a child analytic technique or a well-defined method of treatment. They struggled with differentiating between parental education and parent guidance and what was deemed child analysis. To complicate matters, there was also confusion as to the differences between child psychotherapy and child analysis. For years to come, the case study of Little Hans was the 2first introduction to child analysis for child psychotherapy candidates (Young-Bruehl, 2007).