The paper begins with a mention of recent very helpful psychoanalytic publications on the subject of Aspergers syndrome, then discusses the question of accurate description and the even more difficult one of possible aetiology. It goes on to discuss the issue of possible overlap with personality disorder: Work with a difficult and cold but also eventually loving adolescent girl is described. It shows how an analyst found a way of cracking the code with a confused and puzzling neurodiverse young man.
Anne Alvarez, PhD, M.A.C.P is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist (and retired Co-Convener of the Autism Service, Child and Family Dep’t. Tavistock Clinic, London, where she still teaches.). She is author of Live Company: Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children. and has edited with Susan Reid, Autism and Personality: Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshop. A book in her honour, edited by Judith Edwards, entitled Being Alive: Building on the Work of Anne Alvarez was published in 2002. She was Visiting Professor at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society in November 2005 and is an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Centre of California. Her latest book, The Thinking Heart: Three Levels of Psychoanalytic Therapy with Disturbed Children was published in April 2012 by Routledge.