The Subjective Impact of Separation and Divorce on a Latency Age Child and His Analysis

by Anthony D. Bram, PhD, ABAP, FABP


I present the analysis of a latency-aged child whose parents separated about one-and-a-half years into treatment and subsequently divorced. Even prior to his parents’ announcement, the patient was preoccupied by intense anxieties about separation and abandonment. Such anxieties were exacerbated by the dissolution of his parents’ marriage and of his familiar family constellation. I begin with a brief overview of the child’s early development, the recommendation for analysis, and the initial phase of treatment. I then focus on process material from a two-year span following the parental separation. My aim is to illuminate the child’s subjective experience of parental separation and divorce and my analytic efforts to help him represent, communicate, and understand it.

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 72:24-32, 2019.

Link to Online Publication [fulltext can be downloaded in, or requested from, the library]

About the Author

Anthony D. Bram, PhD, ABAP, FABP, is an adult and child psychoanalyst in private practice in Lexington, MA. He is also on the faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. He is the author of many articles and the co-author of recently published Emotional Regulation in Women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression: Internal Representations and Adaptive Defenses, (JAPA, 66(4), 701–741, 2018) and Psychological Testing That Matters: Creating a Road Map for Effective Treatment (APA, 2014).

Previous Posts:

Anna Ornstein, MD (2019). Six Million and One: a documentary. In Cinematic Reflections on the Legacy of the Holocaust: Psychoanalytic Perspectives, edited by Diana Diamond and Bruce Sklarew. Routledge, p. 40-50.

Lawrence J. Brown, PhD (2018). Deconstructing Countertransference. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(3): 533-555.

Howard M. Katz, MD (2018). Music, Bonding, and Personal Growth: Merle Haggard’s Musical Journey toward Wholeness. Discussion of “A Place to Fall Apart, A Reading of Merle Haggard’s Music” by Richard P. Wheeler. American Imago, 75(3): 441-453.

Sarah Ackerman, PhD (2018). (How) Can We Write about Our Patients? Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 66(1), 59–81.

The Boston Change Process Study Group (2018). Moving Through and Being Moved By: Embodiment in Development and in the Therapeutic Relationship. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 54 (2): 299-321.

Fred Busch, PhD (2018). Searching for the Analyst’s Reveries. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 99(3): 569-589.

Murray M. Schwartz, PhD (2018). Psychoanalysis in My Life: An Intellectual Memoir. American Imago, 75(2), pp. 125-152.

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