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Philip Dodd – Learning Disability – Two Writers and a Question


THE LETTER 20 (Autumn 2000) pages 167-182




This paper reviews selected writings of two people, Maud Mannoni and Valerie Sinason, both of whom have worked psychoanalytically with people with a learning disability, with a view to considering in light of their work, whether psychoanalysis is appropriate to this patient group.


Maud Mannoni 


In the 1960s there was a renewal of interest in handicap in France. Here the torch for psychodynamic thinking in mental handicap was carried by psychoanalyst Maud Mannoni, and most clearly shown in her work, The Retarded Child and His Mother.1 Opening her book with the question, ‘How does one become an analyst?’ Mannoni affirms immediately that the events that marked her life are not without relation to her interests in retarded development and psychosis.

Learning Disability – Two Writers and a Question

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