The impetus for this paper was a question, which arose continuously while working therapeutically with children in the clinical setting; whose desire is operating particularly when adults bring children to see a psychotherapist? This paper sets out to discuss the concept of desire and elucidate its importance when considering the possibility of working therapeutically with children. Freud stated his conviction that the analysis of children was psychoanalysis in its purest form (Freud 1920). Indeed Freud admitted that psychoanalytic research had shifted from the study of neurotics to the study of children 'analysis has revealed how the child lives on unchanged in the sick man as well as in the dreamer and the artist' (Freud 1925).
Having endeavoured to work analytically with children in several clinical settings I wanted to explore more fully what exactly is happening when an adult brings a child to see a therapist. One understanding of therapy is that it is an invitation to speak. However, to say everything is not to say it all - how can unconscious desire be expressed? I intend to reproduce two case vignettes, which illustrate aspects of the theory of desire. The actual names have been altered to preserve confidentiality. One cannot only question desire in the context of the analysand, the desire of the analyst is also relevant and this facet of the discussion will also be considered in the light of Lacan's Ethics of Psychoanalysis.