This seminar will concentrate on the first 1000 days (from conception to two years). A model of parental orientations will be presented to explore the diverse range of subjective responses to the bizarre experience of two-in-one-body; and the complex feelings in face-to-face daily co-existence when an intimate beloved can rapidly turn into a persecutory stranger. We will focus on healthy ambivalence – a medley of familiarity and alterity, altruism and antagonism, both within one’s self, and in dialogue with the unknowable Other. But also on areas of ‘darkness’ in the minds of expectant parents and new mothers and fathers – sparked by the intense emotional experiences of pregnancy, birth and caregiving.
Intra-psychic and inter-personal processes are primed by the baby’s temperament, and by the carer’s unconscious representations of this infant as similar and/or different to self and fantasied baby. I argue that some parents, become vulnerable to disturbance when the exhausting demands of gestation/babycare fail to replicate their fantasies. And their own unprocessed infantile issues are contagiously aroused through engagement with the baby’s preverbal emotions and exposure to evocative primal substances (poop, pee, breastmilk, etc).
However, with good support, the experience of parenting can also be an enriching source of transformative change as new capacities emerge and opportunities arise to rework old grievances.
Professor Joan Raphael-Leff is both a Psychoanalyst (Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society) and Transcultural Psychologist. She leads the Academic Faculty for Psychoanalytic Research at the Anna Freud Centre, London. In 1998 she founded COWAP, the International Psychoanalytic Association’s committee on Women & Psycho-analysis. Previously was Director of the MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology at University College London, and Professor of Psychoanalysis at Essex University, UK.
For 45 years she specialised clinically and researched issues of Reproduction and Early Parenting and her writings (150+ single authored peer-reviewed publications and 12 books) have been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Flemish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish. Now retired, she acts as advisor to multicultural perinatal infant mental health and women’s projects, and primary health workers on six continents.
At the conclusion of this program participants will be able to:
- Describe healthy ambivalence as it relates to pregnancy and early parenting
- Explain the concept of ‘contagious arousal’
- Describe perinatal disturbances
Who should attend
The instructional level for this activity is advanced. Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors) and those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications.
CFS Members $40
Non-CFS Members $50
Candidates and Students with Valid ID $50
For further information regarding this course, please contact Connie Stroboulis at ConnieS3@aol.com or 732-446-4867.