Autism and Childhood Psychosis

Author(s) : Frances Tustin

Autism and Childhood Psychosis

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Also by Frances Tustin

Autistic States in Children

Autistic States in Children

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This is Frances Tustin's first book and the original statement of her views on autistic states of mind and the genesis of varieties of childhood psychosis. In it, she tackles problems of diagnosis as these relate to therapeutic intervention.

Autism and Childhood Psychosis was first published in 1972 by Hogarth, London, and a year later by Jason Aronson, New York. Subsequently, it was translated and published in France, Italy, Brazil and Argentina, where it is now in its third edition. In France, it is a livre de poche. Twenty years ago, the book was greeted by a group of Italian therapists working at a unit for psychotic children at the Institute of Childhood Neuropsychiatry, Rome University, as "a ship coming into harbor bearing precious cargo". Here was a theoretical model that provided an anchor for therapists bewildered by the array of bizarre behaviors that seemed to defy scientific explanation and human intervention.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Looking back at this early work from the vantage-point of twenty years and three more publications, it is fascinating to read the promotional statement on the original book jacket which aptly portrays the approach that has become the hallmark of Tustin's writing - "In a remarkable book Frances Tustin... reveals a mixture of commonsense and compassionate insight which, with her clearly presented material and sensitive interpretations, allows the reader to enter the strange world of psychotic children... Mrs Tustin's book is psychoanalytic but not sectarian. It has the great virtue of springing directly from her own experience, and it will thus be a source book for therapists from every school of depth psychology."'
- From the Foreword by Victoria Hamilton

About the Author(s)

Frances Tustin (1913-1994) was renowned for her pioneering work on the psychoanalytic treatment of childhood autism. In 1952, Tustin joined the second intake of the new child psychotherapy training program at the Tavistock Clinic in London. Her interest in autism began in 1954 when she spent a year at the James Jackson Putnam Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked there both as a therapist and as a general assistant in managing autistic children. On returning to Britain the following year she established a close working relationship with Mildred Creak, a child psychiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and later developed a private practice in which she specialised in treating the most disturbed children. From 1971 to 1973 she was principal child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Child Guidance Centre. The author of several books and influential papers, she taught extensively both abroad and in Britain, and her books have been widely translated. She was an Honorary Member of the Association of Child Psychotherapists and an Honorary Affiliate of the British Psychoanalytical Society. Several months after her death Tustin's husband, and the psychoanalysts Judith and Theodore Mitrani, founded the Frances Tustin Memorial Trust in Los Angeles (now based in Paris). The Trust awards an annual Frances Tustin Memorial Prize and lectureship for a clinical paper on, 'the treatment of primitive mental states in general and autistic states, in particular, in children, adolescents or adults.' Tustin's archive is held at the Wellcome Library.

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