Medium 9781782204848

Learning About Human Nature and Analytic Technique from Mothers and Babies

Views: 35
Ratings: (0)

We have much to learn from mothers and babies not just about early life psychic phenomena that are active in us, but also about the analytic technique, when the internal setting becomes more important than the analyst's interpretative capacity. The infant observation method is a useful tool for the refinement of psychoanalytic listening of primitive phenomena and for the development of the containment and receptive capacity in the analyst or any professional who is dedicated to the early stages of development. This book is a living testimony of years of observation work with the Bick method, including pregnancy and delivery, and much more spent in the working through of this material, in these unforgettable - and usually inaccessible - first three years of life.

List price: $28.99

Your Price: $23.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

8 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Chapter One - A Place Where Verbalisation has no Meaning

ePub

Mephistopheles. Not glad do I reveal a loftier mystery–

Enthroned sublime in solitude are goddesses; Around them is

no place, a time still less;

To speak of them embarrasses.

They are the Mothers!

Faust [terrified]. Mothers!

Mephistopheles. Do you fear?

Faust. The Mothers! Mothers! Strange the word I hear

Mephistopheles. Strange is it. Goddesses, to men unknown

Whom we are loath to name or own.

Deep must you dig to reach their dwelling ever;

You are to blame that now we need their favour

Faust. Whither the way?

Mephistopheles. No way! To the Unexplorable

Never to be explored; to the Unimplorable,

Never to be implored. Are in the mood?

There are no locks, no bars are to be riven;

Through solitudes you will be whirled and driven

Can you imagine wastes and solitude?

(Goethe, 2007, Faust II, Act I: Dark Gallery)

It will be observed that I am taking you to a place where verbalization has no meaning. What connection can there be, then, between all of this and psychoanalysis, which has been built on the process of verbal interpretations of verbalized thoughts and ideas? (Winnicott, 1988a, p. 92)

 

Chapter Two - A Research Journey to this Place Where Verbalisation has no Meaning

ePub

Our hope is to illustrate for you the “sacred place” of the mother–infant relationship, and we invite you to come along as we try to translate into words the experiences of observing six babies, two singles and two pairs of twins, in their first three years of life.

Our extended and stimulating contact with the primitive side of humans in clinical psychoanalytic work with adults, adolescents, and children exposed a need for attaining more knowledge about babies and their world, using research that is focused more on first-hand experiences in the first stages of life, and to acquire more appropriate tools for therapeutic approaches in this area. It was in this context that Nara Caron and Ruth Maltz discovered the Bick method in the early 1980s in Rio de Janeiro, in the works of psychoanalysts Joaquim Couto Rosa and Geni Talberg. The method's potential for understanding the depths and mysteries that surround the mother–infant relationship was clear. We were excited to apply this new approach and confident that we had found the right course of action. We began the training (adapted for distance learning) some time later, despite the inherent difficulties of pioneering the work in Porto Alegre and being supervised in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Chapter Three - Maiara and her Twins, Raoni and Anahi: One Womb to Gestate Two, Each in its Own Time

ePub

Pregnancy

We accompanied Anahi and Raoni's life story from their eleventh week of gestation until they were three years old by observing eight ultrasounds, the delivery, and by conducting forty-nine home observations. They are fraternal twins.

The observer's first impression when she was introduced to the parents was a welcoming sense of peacefulness that continued throughout the rest of the pregnancy and after.

When I entered the ultrasound examination room, I had a good feeling, a mixture of tranquillity and receptivity. The room was darkened and there was an air of quietude. The doctor introduced me to the couple and they both smiled and greeted me. I went to the corner of the room where the father was, with a sense of walking into a special sacred place.

The mother, whose name appears to indicate that she is of indigenous origin, is thirty-nine years old, of medium height and largeboned, with a broad face, and wide hips and shoulders. She has short wavy black hair, big brown almond-shaped eyes, and the dark complexion of a native Brazilian. She seems nice as she smiles and expresses herself, and she speaks slowly and infrequently.

 

Chapter Four - Lucia and her Twins, Daniela and Renata: The Birth of Fraternity in the Struggle against Maternal Indiscrimination

ePub

Pregnancy

We followed the story of the twins Daniela and Renata by observing six monthly ultrasounds between the thirteenth and thirty-fourth–thirty-fifth week of pregnancy and the delivery, followed by forty-six home observations until the twins were three years old. They are fraternal, dichorionic, diamniotic twins.

Lucia, the mother, is thirty-one years old, beautiful, tall, and athletic with light-coloured eyes and hair. The father, Roberto, is thirty-four years old, dark complexioned, handsome, and athletic also. He attended all the ultrasound sessions. Both are teachers and have a youthful appearance. This is their first pregnancy and their contact with the research group begins in the thirteenth week of pregnancy. Lucia says that this is already her fifth ultrasound: “It's nice to see the babies. It has to be like this because we are still not sure what they are. Will we be able to tell?” The couple seems receptive and accepted our invitation to participate in the study. Lucia likes the idea of “being able to see the babies more frequently…and to be observed” (thirteen weeks).

 

Chapter Five - Tânia and her Daughter, Julie: The Creative Recovery of Discontinuities in a Tailor-Made Space of Protection, Care, and Mutual Growth

ePub

Pregnancy

Julie's story was followed through observations of six monthly ultrasound scans conducted between the mother's fourteenth and thirty-fourth weeks of pregnancy, her birth, and forty-seven home observations during the first three years of her life.

The observer arrives at the clinic early for the first scan and finds the couple already there. The feelings of anticipation and urgency that permeate that first examination remain throughout the entire pregnancy, to the surprise of the observer, who is at times confused and called upon to do things such as set dates, exchange phone numbers, and make plans. Additionally, the parents ask the sonographer obscure and ambiguous life-and-death questions.

The first impression the observer has of Carlos, twenty-seven years old, and Tânia, twenty-six years old, is a strange feeling of superficiality, as if they were putting up “a front”; nice, but provoking surprise. The first contact by phone had been amicable, making the observer anxious to meet them and more willing and stimulated to participate in the research. They are smiling and have a fragile, almost scared, look about them. During the scan, the movement of the foetus perplexes them, as if that were something unexpected. Each new piece of information given by the doctor caused them to exchange looks and smiles and ask questions, as if something mysterious was about to be revealed—a somewhat theatrical behaviour that seemed to cover up fears and concerns.

 

Chapter Six - Alice and her Daughter, Valentina: a Ferocious Struggle to be Born

ePub

Pregnancy

Our observations of Valentina's story began in the tenth week of pregnancy and progressed through eight monthly obstetric ultrasound observations, another one during the delivery, and fifty-three home observations until she was three years old.

The observer's first contact with Alice over the phone was as follows:

The mother was nice, communicative, and very interested in participating in the research. She clearly stated her reasons and her desire to be involved in the observations. She was worried about the fact that she was pregnant at forty-one years of age; she had been pregnant once before, but had a miscarriage early on in the pregnancy and therefore thought it was a good idea to be observed during this new pregnancy. She also readily accepted the initial arrangements for the observations.

Alice's spontaneous and sincere attitude made the observer immediately want to get to know her. Her determination and decision to participate in the research and benefit from both the sonographer and the observer's presence seemed connected to this mother's determination and decision to keep this new pregnancy and keep the baby by reaching the balance or harmony she had been unable to achieve before. There was an immediate sense of empathy between the mother and the observer that was maintained until the end of the first phase—delivery.

 

Chapter Seven - Philomena: An Inner Journey Back to the Beginning

ePub

Philomena is a polished-up true story24 about a woman who kept a carefully guarded secret: fifty years ago she had given birth to a son who had been ripped away from her when he was three years old, and when she had been living in forced confinement at a Catholic convent in Ireland—the Roscrea Abbey. There, teenage girls that had become pregnant out of wedlock were abandoned and forgotten by parents and society. In order to atone for their “sins” and pay the “debt” they owed to the nuns who “sheltered” and exploited them and their babies, they had to work as slaves for around four years. They were only allowed to see their babies for one hour a day.

Philomena's story allows us to share in the experience of a biological mother who, despite the limitations imposed by the environment, had an intense relationship with her son that was prematurely ruptured when he was given to another family for adoption. All that the mother and son had left to hold on to from their story were predominantly wordless memories of powerful and unforgettable experiences that led them to search in vain for each other. The intensity of their connection, which endured despite never seeing each other again, is proof of the importance of the predominantly non-verbal phase of babies (infans) in human development. We see that the relationship was able to continue in the interior worlds of each of them, which facilitated satisfactory and creative personal growth for both.

 

Chapter Eight - The Challenges and Contributions of this “Descent to the Realm of the Mothers”

ePub

In the ten years since our research began, we cannot help but mention time and the challenges of capturing the details of a life that is beginning. It is impossible, and was never our intention, to exactly reproduce the stories of the six infants (two single and two sets of twins) during their first three years of life. Like the mother with her child—and the analyst with his or her patient—we had primarily to learn to wait for/gestate feelings, thoughts, and ideas so they could be born at the right time. How could we manage something as immeasurable as this essentially female and predominantly wordless place where infants begin life? It was an arduous task to bring together all the observer reports and our own reports—random papers, recent and old—in an attempt to translate some of the experiences and challenges faced by mothers when they are thrown into the primitive world of the infant, as well as by the observer.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to writing this book has been cohesively connecting the observation material gathered in the first phase, from pregnancy to delivery, to the second phase, from birth until the third year of life, since we had only supervised the first one. Thus, we had to translate observation material that we had neither experienced nor supervised. Although having a different team for each phase brought additional difficulties to the writing, today we feel our decision was well worth it. Throughout our work we came across natural discontinuities in development that were connected to a complex interweaving of infant–environment that made us abandon previous hypotheses about continuities between the pre- and post-delivery period that had been based exclusively on foetal movements, as in Piontelli's pioneering work (1992/1995).

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000218667
Isbn
9781781816875
File size
444 KB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata