Freud’s two great contributions were taking child mind seriously in a new way and taking the possibilities of intimate communication seriously in a new way. For Freud, the mind of a child was a marvel in development, that is, a moving marvel with its own predilections. He believed we encountered the history of the child mind in the predilections of the adult mind. The vast field of inquiry into child development received enormous impetus from Freud’s theories. For Freud, a special kind of emotional intimacy, a special kind of conversation, one he called “analysis”, made possible changes in how we experience not just the world around us, but ourselves. Psychotherapy, in all its variety and peculiarity, was born out of this new emphasis, which, of course, hearkened back to rabbinical practice and confession, perhaps also to shamanism. Both of these fundamental notions of Freud, taking child mind seriously and taking the possibilities of emotional intimacy seriously, have borne rich and varied fruit.

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