Berta Bornstein's "Frankie": The contemporary relevance of a classic to the treatment of children with disruptive symptoms

Leon Hoffman

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Abstract

In this paper the lasting effect of the work of Berta Bornstein is described, particularly the technique of interpreting defenses against unpleasant emotions when beginning an analysis with a young child. This technique is illustrated in the analysis of the patient she called "Frankie" (1949). Although her work is rarely cited (perhaps because she did not publish widely as a result of the dominance of the oral tradition at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute), her work remains central for child psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy, with the evolution of the experience-near technique of interpreting defenses against unpleasant emotions. The applicability of Bornstein's ideas to contemporary ideas about affect regulation and the treatment of disruptive children is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-176
Number of pages25
JournalPsychoanalytic Study of the Child
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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