chapter  XVII
10 Pages

Psychoses and Child Care 1952

IN THIS PAPER I shall try to show that some degree of psychosis in childhood is common, but it is not noticed because of the way in which the symptoms are hidden in the ordinary difficulties inherent in child care. The diagnosis is made when the environment fails to hide or to cope with distortions of emotional development, so that the child needs to organize along a certain defensive line which becomes recognizable as a disease entity. This theory assumes that the· basis of the mental health of the personality is laid down in earliest infancy by the techniques which come naturally to a mother who is preoccupied with the care of her own infant. I shall make a brief sketch of the tasks involved in the early stages of the emotional development of the infant, tasks which cannot be accomplished by the infant except in an emotional environment that is good enough.