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Keynote: Division 39 Spring Meeting

  • Loews Hotel Philadelphia Millennium Hall / 2nd Floor Philadelphia, PA (map)

When Peter Pan Lurks in the Shadows: Development, Psychoanalysis and the Catastrophic Longitudinal Effect of Childism

Psychoanalysis has its roots in the exploration of early experiences and the listening of the echoes from the past in the context of the here and now. In this context, the developmental perspective is the fundamental and inherently indispensable motor that drives analytic work since its inception. Despite this, psychoanalysis still falls prey to blind spots in the form of adult-centric biases. This presentation explores the longitudinal effects of prejudice against children in society and specifically in the field of psychoanalysis. It explores the value of a more radical developmental approach as understood through the lens of a more inclusive psychoanalysis. This invitation allows a quest towards personal freedom acquired through the experience of a two-person transformative play that is only possible when development is held in mind. Psychoanalysts lose their way when they no longer look and listen for the child. The work becomes an intellectual enterprise without diversity and devoid of genuine mentalizing. When analyst and patient are haunted by the shadow of the dissociated child, they must choose to either put the shadow in the drawer or find their way to Neverland and back. Clinical examples will be presented to illustrate how a contemporary developmental psychoanalytic perspective enriches and widens the scope of practice within and beyond the doors of the consulting room.


Norka T. Malberg, PsyD

Yale Child Study Center, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT


Laurel M. Silber, PsyD

Institute of Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Norka T. Malberg, PsyD

Dr. Norka T. Malberg is a Certified Child and Adolescent Psychoanalyst. She is a member of the Western New England Psychoanalytic and the Contemporary Freudian Societies. She trained at the Anna Freud Centre in London and obtained her clinical doctorate from University College London. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center as a member of the early childhood team in New Haven, CT where she is in full-time practice working with children and adults as a psychoanalyst and in the community as a consultant to schools and other service organizations. She is an active member of Section 2 (Child and Adolescent) of Division 39 and of the Association for Child Psychoanalysis where she serves as Chair of the Social Issues Committee. Dr. Malberg is co-editor a book of the Lines of Development Book Series for which she co-edited the first book: The Anna Freudian Tradition. Dr. Malberg is co-editor of the Child and Adolescent Sections of the recently published PDM-2 (Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual). She is one of five authors of the recently published book: Time limited MBT-Cpublished by the American Psychological Association Press and a guest master clinician for the APA video series on Metalization. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico.