Psychodynamically Oriented Psychotherapy in Autism

  • Sheila Spensley


Since 1943, a formidable number of research hours have been devoted to the testing of hypotheses concerning autism. Exploratory investigations into its possible causes have been so wide-ranging as to result in propositions as diverse as parental death-wishes towards the autistic child (Bettleheim, 1967) to the presence of abnormalities in his brain (Hutt et al., 1964; Rimland, 1964). In this paper I shall limit my considerations to those theories which concern the psychologial theories of autism. Here, broadly speaking, two lines of thinking can be distinguished; that which restricts itself to formulations concerning conscious and cognitive processes, and that which is pursued by psychologists whose theories include factors deriving from the unconscious mind. It is my view that fewer incompatibilities exist between cognitive and psychodynamic views of autism than are believed to exist and I hope that I may be able to contribute something towards a clarification of the issues and the apparent differences which so far have tended to be regarded as irreconcileable.


Autistic Child Child Psychology Psychoanalytic Theory Symbolic Play Infantile Autism 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Spensley

There are no affiliations available

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