Victory against psychoanalysis

Health authority discourages use of psychoanalysis treatment methods for children with autism

9 March 2012

FAMILIES of children with autism have won an important battle against the use of psychoanalysis to treat the disorder.

The High Health Authority (HAS) has made its recommendations, promoting the use of educational and behavioral approaches that have been called on for many years. These methods are based on repetition and developing methods of communication with the child through techniques other than language such as pictures and gestures.

Thousands of families have struggled for months or even years with their children in psychiatric hospitals or with psychiatrists, complaining that their children were kept in a state of "psychosis" and were not taught how to communicate. Those who refused to enter their child into the psychiatric facility were often sued for neglect.

Psychoanalysis is considered "irrelevant" for cases of autism, however families believe the health authority has not gone far enough in denouncing the methods involved. Psychoanalysis is classified as a practice not agreed upon by all, whereas protesters say that it should be reclassed as 'not recommended'.

Also criticised in the HAS report is the use of the "packing" method to 'cure' autism, a 17th-century technique used to calm psychiatric patients by wrapping them in sheets of freezing cold wet sheets and waiting for them to warm up gradually. As reported in the March edition of Connexion, this practice horrified parents of autistic children.

It is no longer recommended by the Health Authority, except in the case of "authorized clinical trials."

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