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Understanding AutismParents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder$
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Chloe Silverman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150468

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150468.001.0001

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Love Is Not Enough: Bruno Bettelheim, Infantile Autism, and Psychoanalytic Childhood

Love Is Not Enough: Bruno Bettelheim, Infantile Autism, and Psychoanalytic Childhood

Chapter:
(p.61) 2 Love Is Not Enough: Bruno Bettelheim, Infantile Autism, and Psychoanalytic Childhood
Source:
Understanding Autism
Author(s):

Chloe Silverman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691150468.003.0003

This chapter describes what happened when the child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, director of the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago, designed a research program for training counselors based on the idea that autism represented a form of halted ego development. Bettelheim popularized psychotherapy in postwar America, and especially the view of autistic children and their families that has remained both a reference and a foil for generations of parents. The story of Bettelheim's involvement with autism illustrates the ambivalent and sometimes tragic qualities of the affective, institutional, and professional commitments that drive research on autism as well as treatment practices. The chapter examines Bettelheim's conviction that one might temper reason with love, but that love was often “not enough” unless combined with interpretive acumen and clear-eyed introspection.

Keywords:   autism, Bruno Bettelheim, ego development, University of Chicago, counselors, psychotherapy, autistic children, treatment, love

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