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Mediating Trauma and Anxiety: Letters to Françoise Dolto, 1976-1978.

Authors
  • Bates, Richard1
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Medical Humanities
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
42
Issue
2
Pages
269–276
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10912-020-09625-7
PMID: 32300928
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Françoise Dolto (1908-88) was a prominent French cultural figure thanks to her practice of dispensing psychoanalytically-informed child-rearing advice via the radio. From 1976 to 1978, on her show Lorsque l'enfant paraît, she responded to thousands of letters sent in by listeners requesting help with parenting problems and personal questions of a psychological nature. The article explores Dolto's cultural position as a child psychoanalyst - understood in the 1960s and 1970s as a radical profession - but from a conservative, Catholic background. It then examines a sample of the letters sent in to her show, analysing the demographics of the correspondents and highlighting their most common concerns. Finally the article studies the relationship between psychoanalysis and trauma. It indicates the anxiety that a psychoanalytic understanding can cause, by reinforcing parents' fears that childhood traumas are common, can be created unwittingly by parents, and lead to major psychological consequences in later life.

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