The Mind of the Child in the Adult


Freud first made the case for elements of the mind of a child influencing the life of an adult with publication of the case of the Wolf Man where an infantile neurosis held partial sway over the adult who never really outgrew it. These days we all accept the influence of infancy and childhood on the formation of the adult mind, but is an “influence on formation” all that’s left over from those early years? What about the persistence of psychic equivalence and pretend modes of thinking highlighted by the work of Fonagy, Target, and colleagues in their work with borderline personality disorder? What about the patterns of attachment established between 12-18 months of life that are still visible in adulthood in several longitudinal studies? What about the old concept of regression in the service of the ego? What is regression, really, in a person who is not psychotic? What is a “child personality” in an adult with dissociative identity disorder?


MARY SUE MOORE, PHD is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and educator in Colorado. She has taught and participated in a variety of clinical research projects in the U.S., U.K., and Australia over the past 25 years. Her research has focused on attachment theory and the impact of trauma on the developing brain. In 1999, she helped found Boulder Institute for Psychotherapy Research, where she is pursuing long-standing educational, research and clinical training interests. She is also completing a book for the Analytic Press, Reflections of Self, on the impact of trauma in children’s drawings.

BILLIE PIVNICK, PHD is a clinical psychologist and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and on the faculties of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and the Washington Square Institute Family Forensic Psychology Training Program. Her paper “Symbolization and its Discontents: The Impact of Threatened Object Loss on the Discourse and Symptomatology of Hospitalized Psychotic Patients,” won IPTAR’s Stanley Berger Award for its contribution to the field of psychoanalysis. She is the author of “Wriggles, Squiggles, and Words: From Expression to Meaning in Early Childhood and Psychotherapy,” and “Left Without a Word: Learning Rhythms, Rhymes, and Reasons in Adoption.”

MARY TARGET, PHD is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychoanalysis at UCL, and Director of the MSc in Theoretical Psychoanalytic Studies. She is Professional Director of the Anna Freud Centre, London, where she is also Academic and Research Organiser of the Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, and holds an associate clinical professorship at Yale University (New Haven, CT). She is Joint Series Editor of the Karnac Series in Psychoanalysis, and of the Yale Series on Developmental Science and Psychoanalysis.


FRANCES S. WATER, DCSW, is an internationally recognized educator, trainer, consultant, and clinician in the area of childhood trauma, abuse, and dissociation, and has presented extensively. She is an expert witness in child abuse cases.  Ms. Waters is the past President of The International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD).  She has published chapters in The Dissociative Child: Diagnosis, Treatment & Case Management, and in Dissociation in Children and Adolescents: Theory and Clinical Intervention. She received the 2008 Media Award from the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children for her latest production of the “Trauma and Dissociation in Children” training DVD for forensic interviewers and prosecutors.