Marisa Pelella Melega
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Psychologie
Post-Autism recounts in close and vivid detail the story of the author's struggle to analyse and communicate with a pubertal boy who presented with a diagnosis of untreated infantile autism. Marisa Melega, who was at that time a young and relatively inexperienced analyst, worked with Mario in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 1978 to 1982 and during most of that period the case was supervised by Donald Meltzer, who had recently published his pioneering work Explorations in Autism, based on ten years of collaborative endeavour with a group of therapists. At that period the condition of autism was relatively little understood, and psychological therapies undeveloped.This book is therefore of particular interest from several viewpoints: as a detailed record of autistic features and their manifestations in a teenage child; as an example of the potentialities of distance supervision (for communication was mainly by post, though there were some meetings); historically, as a basis for comparison with our current understanding of the condition and the efficacy of psychoanalytic treatment; and perhaps above all, as an intimate record of the making of a psychoanalyst, by means of a particularly difficult yet highly emotionally stressful relationship with a patient. As Melega writes in her introduction: "I received brilliant lessons from Donald Meltzer that have enlarged my general psychoanalytical capacity to investigate the transference and countertransference ... to avoid sticking exclusively to verbalizations, and to search for my own oneiric images during the sessions in order to make analysing Mario possible."
'This book describes the journey in the late 1970s and early 1980s of a therapist tirelessly struggling to maintain an intimate dialogue with a pubertal boy who presented as a case of untreated infantile autism. At each step Marisa Pelella Melega questions the efficacy of different approaches and even her conviction about the appropriateness of a psychoanalytic approach. The therapist's desire is to make contact with the deeply human in the child, breaking through the defensive layer of hardness she runs into time and again. Donald Meltzer supports this adventure and finds in this work inspiration for innovative, interesting ideas. The reader can easily empathize and identify with the therapist in her struggle, and the book gives rise to new ideas and leads to the conviction that a psychoanalytic approach to treating patients who are within the autistic spectrum is not only possible but also highly desirable.'- Lucy Bermann and Dolors Cid, Members of the Grupo Psicoanalitico de Barcelona (Psychoanalytic Group of Barcelona)'There is much to admire in this book. It is a pioneering work in Brazil on the topic of the autistic spectrum. It also provides an interesting opportunity to journey backwards in time to a period when work with this type of patient was relatively new, and to compare it with the way things are now. The narrative movingly recounts the detailed texture of the sessions, and shows Marisa Pelella Melega's great capacity for the minute discussion of countertransference phenomena. In addition, there is the richness of Donald Meltzer's supervisions, and despite the distance (as these were mainly conducted by post), the intricate interaction of both analysts in the joint task of working to bring the patient into the world of human relationships and interests.'
Autism and Aspergers, Psychoanalysis