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In most countries, social or behavioural interventions are recommended for autism. However, in France, psychoanalysis is still used, despite objections by patients, families and mental health experts. Supporters of psychoanalysis maintain that the choice of therapeutic approach is a matter of cultural preference, and that objections to psychoanalysis arise from misunderstandings. We argue that more deep-rooted problems are the lack of an evidence base for psychoanalysis and its focus on sexual relationships between children and adults, which demonises mothers and can put children at risk of abuse. Furthermore, psychoanalysis in France is protected from criticism by powerful educational and political networks.

Original publication




Journal article


BJPsych Bull

Publication Date



1 - 5


Psychoanalysis, autism, child abuse, child sexuality, culture