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CHAPTER SIXTEEN Just wait and don’t upset yourself: when children are exposed to poverty in their daily lives

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Just wait and don’t upset yourself: when children are exposed to poverty in their daily lives

Sabine Andresen


Child poverty is something that generates and demands attention. The specific form of attention to children’s experience of poverty addressed in this chapter links up with Bernhard Waldenfels’s phenomenology.

This refers to everyday experiences that are always embedded in a spatial context, constantly bound to the body, subject to a temporal dynamic, and dependent on a perceiving but not necessarily autonomous ego:

“One who hears and sees everything, sees and hears nothing; and if someone is judged according to the experiences he has had, then somebody to whom nothing happens is a nobody. To be able to talk about experiences, it evidently does not suffice for clouds to move across the sky, for traffic noise to spread, for the sun to radiate its warmth, for an instrument to heat up, or for the ground to shake. What is lacking here is my self or somebody else who notices all this and takes note of it” (Waldenfels, 2004, p. 13 [translated for this edition]). This “takes note of it” also leads to the transfer of experiences into words, to saying something about them. However, Waldenfels’s “phenomenology of attention” also points to the limitations on putting experience with all its ambiguity into words, because that which shows itself to us is never


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CHAPTER THREE Minds shaped through relationships: the emerging neurobiology of parenting

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Minds shaped through relationships: the emerging neurobiology of parenting

Helena J. V. Rutherford and Linda C. Mayes


do not believe it is possible to understand the functioning of the mother at the very beginning of the infant’s life without seeing that she must be able to reach this state of heightened sensitivity, almost an illness, and to recover from it” (Winnicott, 1956 [1975], p. 302). When

Winnicott made his observations of a special shift in the mental economy of adults recently becoming new parents, he was calling attention to a critical adult developmental stage that has implications not only for the parent but also for the infant (Winnicott, 1956 [1975]). For Winnicott, the adult’s experience of a preoccupied mental state was essential not only for the new parent’s coming to understand their infant but also for creating a “transitional space” in which the infant’s self slowly differentiates.

Key to Winnicott’s observations is that both parent and infant are engaged in a critical developmental period with each shaping and influencing the other. Indeed, the onset of parenthood represents a significant transitional period in the lives of many adults, requiring a host of psychological and neurobiological changes to facilitate adaptive and responsive caregiving to the needs of the infant. Across disciplines, there has been decades of research addressing how parental care impacts child development; however, there has been far less consideration of

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Through symptoms to subjects: the family physician and the psychologist together in primary care

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Through symptoms to subjects: the family physician and the psychologist together in primary care

Luigi Solano

Once upon a time there was a doctor

Around the end of 1800, a young doctor is on holiday on the Alps.

One day he makes an excursion to a refuge hut at a height of 6,000 feet and, being somewhat exhausted, decides to stay for dinner and for the night.

After dinner, there is still some sunlight, he sits deep in contemplation of the charm of the distant prospect; from what we know of him we may imagine him lighting one of his terrible cigars (there was no law against this at the time). He is so lost in this bliss that at first he does not connect it with himself when he hears the question: “Are you a doctor, sir?”

The question comes from a “rather sulky-looking girl of perhaps eighteen” who had served his meal, the story says. She learned the man is a doctor from the Visitors’ Book. “The truth is, sir, my nerves are bad.

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Chapter Seven: Transition to Parenthood: Studies of Intersubjectivity in Mothers and Fathers

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Massimo Ammaniti, Cristina Trentini, Francesca Menozzi, and Renata Tambelli


Recent developments in different areas of research, psychoanalysis, infant research, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental science, highlight the dynamic, intersubjective sense of personality organised in term of “self-with-other” (Ammaniti & Trentini, 2009).

The evolution of the human species attuned human mothers, both psychologically and neurobiologically, to the smell and the sounds of the baby, and to his expressions and behaviours; in this way, mothers can immediately understand when they need to intervene to protect or feed the baby, who is immature and helpless. At the same time, babies with higher ability in tuning and understanding others have been favoured by natural selection, gaining a better chance of survival. For this reason, human infants are very social from their birth and develop that human-specific ability to read intentions and participate in collaborative activities defined by shared goals and intentions (Tomasello, 1999; Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne & Moll, 2005).

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Chapter Two: “Out-Reaching Psychoanalysis”: A Contribution to Early Prevention for “Children-at-Risk”?

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Marianne Leuzinger-Bohleber 1

This chapter supplements the overview from the prevention sciences provided in chapter one with a perspective from clinical psychoanalysts in Germany, bringing their knowledge to “children-at-risk” outside their “normal” treatment settings. We refer to this as “Out-reaching psychoanalysis”. It is an engagement which takes up a well-known tradition of psychoanalytical pedagogics (e.g., Anna Freud, Bruno Bettelheim, August Aichhorn and many others) and tries to adjust it to new challenges for a psychoanalytical oriented prevention in Western countries.

Introduction: early prevention as a societal responsibility

In its report the OECD deplores…“that migrants in almost no other country have such a bad level of education as in Germany” (Klingholz, 2010, p. 1299). Every fourth child with a background of migration leaves school without a certificate. Many of them become unemployed as are their parents and lead a life on the fringe of society. The societal disparity between them and other children in Germany, who have never had it better, becomes greater and greater. Early deprivation, violence and the increase of psychosomatic and mental illness such as depression and addiction are among the consequences. Seventy per cent of violent criminals have themselves been abused as children. Twenty to thirty per cent of their children, in turn, become violent criminals (e.g., Egle, Hoffmann & Joraschky, 2000).

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