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Institute of CFS

How Parent-Infant Therapy Informs Work with Children and Adults

One Session Progam (3 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Talia Hatzor, PhD, and Kate Oram, PhD
Date: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Location: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm

In parent-infant work, the clinician encounters an infant, one or more caretakers and a problem as straightforward as difficulty with sleep or feeding or as frightening as a failure to thrive.   The trained observer meets pathology in an emergent state, intricate processes—interpersonal, intrapsychic, biopsychosocial—at the root of the crisis.  Interpretations, clarifications or shared observations—in a context of safety and trust—can relieve tensions.  The analytically trained therapist may gain access to the dyadic unconscious, as well as the mutually regulating processes at its core, and begin to address what Selma Fraiberg referred to as ghosts in the nursery, irruptions of the past, even of past generations, in the present parent-child relationship.   While interventions may be straight forward, therapeutic action can be dramatic, diminishing or even foreclosing pathology relatively quickly.

In this salon, we will consider what parent infant therapy teaches us about work with children and adults.  What a modality that builds on but goes beyond the work of Klein, Winnicott and Bion—as well as attachment theory and self-psychology—can add to our understanding of treatment? Can parent-infant therapy, often effective in a brief number of sessions, offer clues to finding greater vitality in once or twice weekly treatments?  Are there ways we can expand the boundaries of therapy to include the external as well as the internal? Can we become more available to patients, more receptive to what they are communicating, in ways that allow us and them to metabolize states that otherwise could not be thought about or reflected upon.

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