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CHAPTER 2: The psyche-soma within an object relations framework

Antonella Sansone Karnac Books ePub

Winnicott put at the centre of his developmental model not a mythic confict between incompatible forces but the localisation of self in one's body. for Winnicott, there was the body at the root of development out of which a “psychosomatic partnership” evolved. The self was frst and foremost a body self and the “psyche” of the partnership meant the imaginative elaboration of somatic parts, feelings and functions, that is, of physical aliveness. (Phillips 1949, p. 244)

What I fnd particularly relevant was Winnicott's interest in distressing psychosomatic symptoms that he encountered in his psychoanalytic practice. Nevertheless, he was also interested in the relationship of psyche and soma in health and in normal development as well as in illness. Phillips (1988, p. 5) drew attention to Winnicott’ s questions: “What do we depend on to make us feel alive, or real? Where does our sense come from, when we have it, that our lives are worth living? Winnicott approached these issues through the observation-one of his favoured words-of mothers and infants, and what became in time the “transitional space” between them.”

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CHAPTER 3: The “bodyself” in early relationship

Antonella Sansone Karnac Books ePub

Research and clinical literature has paid very little attention to how a woman's bodyself may impinge on her parental skills and on the quality of her interaction with her baby which is what gave me the idea to write my frst book Mothers, Babies, and their Body Language (Sansone, 2004) and this chapter. In my frst book, the relation between the woman's bodyself and her parenting abilities is extensively considered for the frst time. Consideration is also given to how the mother's attitude to her bodyself can affect the development of the infant's bodyself. To nurture an integrated bodyself image and grow in self-confdence, a child needs a mother who values herself and has a fulflled relationship with her body and self. A sense of guilt, hatred of life, or fear sends signals about self-esteem and about the importance of motherhood. Parents teach their child assertiveness and self-trust through their confdent posture and frm way of holding, as their attitudes and feelings constantly take shape through their muscular tension and body language.

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CHAPTER TEN: Breastfeeding

Antonella Sansone Karnac Books ePub

In most traditional cultures, breastfeeding is part of the close, intimate contact between mother and baby and is done naturally and with confidence. The mother recognizes the baby’s body language when she nuzzles up to the breast and is fed. It is not restricted to any feeding time, number or length of intervals, and babies are not weighed too often. In many cultures, the baby is attached to the mother’s body, always in contact with the smell of milk, and ready to be fed whenever she needs it. For example, in Southern India the baby is kept under the mother’s sari next to her skin. Even when she is not being fed, the sucking, or just the smell of milk is enough to comfort her.

The mother’s clothing is well adapted to having a baby at the breast. In our industrialized societies, there is a great deal of inhibition about breastfeeding in public places. Some places do not even allow it. However, a minority of self-confident women use well-adapted clothes and breastfeed whenever the baby needs to be fed.

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CHAPTER SIX: Movement and communication: the baby massage experience

Antonella Sansone Karnac Books ePub

Mother-baby interactions do not occur in a chain-like
sequence;
the behaviour of each triggers several others.
The effects of an interaction
are more like those of a stone dropped into water,
causing a multitude of increasing rings,
than a chain where each link leads to only one other.

Ibelieve that there has been inadequate study of emotional bodily dynamics, or the way in which emotions “move”. It seems no coincidence that the word “emotion” derives from “motion” or “movement”. Human communication consists of both sound and movement. The five methods of sensory communication—sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste—comprise a sixth paramount aspect: movement and gesture. While a person is speaking, several parts of the body move in ways that can be either evident or fairly imperceptible; in the same way, the listener’s movements can be co-ordinated with the speaker’s speech rhythm and her bodily movements. When two people talking to each other are filmed, micro-analysis reveals that both are moving in tune to the words being spoken, thus creating a type of dance in rhythm with the speech patterns. This phenomenon can appear quite clearly in the rhythmic conversation between mother and baby (proto-conversation). The mother’s voice is already familiar to her newborn—after all, she has had nine months to get used to it in her womb!

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CHAPTER 8: The effectiveness of early support

Antonella Sansone Karnac Books ePub

My work with parents and infants is usually short term in nature. It is brief because the infant-parent relationship itself is very young and diffculties can usually be quickly rectifed. The earlier the psychotherapeutic work, the more effective it is. This means that the best outcomes will appear very quickly and last longer when the psychotherapeutic work is carried out very early.

The relationship between mother and baby cannot wait for the resolution of past conficts in the mother or the father through long-term psychoanalytic work, as Stella Acquarone explains in her book Infant-Parent Psychotherapy (Acquarone, 2004). A baby develops relatively quickly in the course of active interactions with the mother and father, so a baby cannot be understood outside of these interactions. Neither can the parents be understood without taking these interactions into account.

Psychotherapeutic work with parents and infants requires an integrated and creative use of ideas from child development research, neuropsychological research, infant observations, psychoanalytic literature, theories of infant evolution, psychology, and the arts (for instance, baby massage is the oldest and the most natural of all the healing arts). In my work, I also integrate an Eastern approach to the healing relationship. However, any theoretical background should be continuously fltered by the therapist's creative personality, as this is what enables him or her to truly connect with the parents” and baby's feelings and thus understand them. This makes this kind of work with parents and infants both an art and a science.

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