24 November 2023

It is sometimes perilous to approach clinical psychology from the angle of philosophy, politics or sociology, as the opinion piece by the philosopher Pierre Vesperini demonstrates (The worldFebruary 18), protesting against the “Time Out” (” timeout “) the functioning of which psychologist Caroline Goldman explained in an interview a few days earlier (The world of February 15) (“Time Out” consists of putting a child away for a short time).

Conducting an attack against an educational tool from the clinic with the only experience of its own children when we see, every day in our consultations, children and parents in pain, can only lead to political and social confusion.

Any pedagogical concept can be related to a behaviorist theory as long as we want to call it that because educating means enabling the child to acquire appropriate behaviors. The “Time Out”, stemming from Anglo-Saxon currents, is nonetheless the signifier of the break. It is a pity to leave it with this English name rather than renaming it with a word like “pause”, “scansion” or “punctuation”, which would perhaps put the subject back at the heart of its act.

Cooking recipe

In a few years, the child became the 8e wonder of the world, at the center of the extreme attention of his parents who never let him go. They are encouraged to do so by the scientific discourse which pushes them, for example, to keep the baby for the first six months in their room to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, which has nevertheless remained stable for thirty years (approximately 4/10,000), if we cross-reference INSEE data on births in 2022 with those of Public Health France on unexplained deaths before one year.

The link is established from the outset in anxiety – when it is not anxiety – as a certain number of young mothers come to testify. On the lookout for all the signs, the infant and his parents are in constant contact which, supported by technology, reinforces this seamless world day by day.

If Caroline Goldman comes to give her advice in podcasts, what runs the risk – as for Françoise Dolto (1908-1988) in her time – of being used as a cooking recipe, is that she is a witness, as all those who listen to children in suffering, to an evolution of the symptomatology. From the little girl of barely 2 years old who wakes up fifteen times a night to maintain in an incessant ballet the anxiety of her totally exhausted parents, to the clastic crises of this little boy of 4 and a half years old who cannot bear the slightest frustration.

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