The psychic organ point of autistic syntax

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This paper deals with autistic syntax and its expressions both in the fully fledged autistic structure and in the autistic zones of other personality structures. The musical notion of the organ point serves as a point of departure in an attempt to describe how autistic syntax transforms what was meant to constitute the substrate for linguistic polyphony into a one-dimensional, repetitive score, devoid of emotional volume. Autistic syntax denies the recognition of the human characteristics of both self and other, turning the other into an autistic object, which blocks, with his or her concrete presence, the hole created by his or her own absence as a psychological subject. The resulting discourse either imprints its forms on the other's language or rubs against its surface, but never creates a living dialogue. Within the autistic discourse, repetitiveness replaces cross-fertilisation, thereby annihilating the ability to create or to allow anything new. The paper concludes with a discussion of Tustin's notion of 'the function of the cross' within the therapeutic process and its communicative expressions in language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Child Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Autism
  • autistic dyad
  • autistic syntax
  • primary mental states
  • psychic organ point
  • reclamation of psychic polyphony
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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