Frances Tustin

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Frances Tustin (born Frances Daisy Vickers, in Northern England in 1913) was a pioneering child psychotherapist renowned for her work with children with autism in the 1950s. She became a teacher and began studying psychoanalysis in 1943 at the University of London.[1]

Following the war, in 1950 she began the child psychotherapy training headed by the psychoanalyst Esther Bick in the children's department of London's Tavistock Clinic, which was chaired by the pioneer in child development John Bowlby.

In the mid-1950s she traveled to the USA to work at the James Jackson Putnam Center which treated autistic children through what today is seen as behavior therapy and began to extensively study, research and write about autism in what are some of the earliest writings on the condition.[1]

She returned to London and published her first book Autism and Childhood Psychosis in 1972 followed by three more books and numerous journal articles, translated worldwide, up until her death, at age 81, in 1994.[1]

Her contribution to the development of psychoanalysis was recognized in 1984 by the British Psychoanalytical Society, which awarded her the rare status of Honorary Affiliate Member.[1]

The Frances Tustin Memorial Trust awards an annual prize for papers addressing the treatment of autistic states in children, adolescents or adults.[1]


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