The “doctor game” revisited: doctor’s treatment of their own children.
“Although it is generally believed that doctors do not treat their own children, the practice is commonplace. This paper presents the unconscious reasons for the discrepancy between this popular belief and actual practice. The effects of this intrusion on the usual parent-child relationship are discussed. Except in emergency, the doctor’s decision to take his own child as a patient is explained as a partial reenactment of the doctor’s childhood “doctor game,” now shared and acted out in cooperation with his spouse. This special treatment arrangement, which serves to displace reactivated or unresolved unconscious conflict onto the child appears to have far-reaching effects on the child’s developing ego and character structure. Attention should be paid to it as a transference phenomenon in the treatment of doctor’s children. Relevant literature is reviewed, Freud’s personal involvement with the matter is traced, and clinical examples are provided.”
Photo: flickr/terren in Virginia
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