A qualitative exploration of who the infant is in the mother's mind

Lowe, Jane (2020) A qualitative exploration of who the infant is in the mother's mind. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust/University of Essex.

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Abstract

Objective: This study is the first qualitative research analysing mothers’ thoughts and feelings of themselves, their infant and their developing parent-infant relationship prior to receiving a brief psychoanalytically informed under-fives treatment. It explores maternal representations from mothers’ narratives asking the question: Who is the infant in the mothers’ mind? Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six mothers whose infant had been referred to an under-fives service. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and the transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: The qualitative analysis of these narrative accounts generated eleven super-ordinate themes. These clustered into four areas: mother’s descriptions of their infant, descriptions of problems in themselves as a mother, problems in their infant and problems in the developing parent-infant relationship. Conclusions: There were coherent, rich, balanced representations involving mental representations of emotions and intentions in all six mothers. They all conveyed viewing their infant as a unique, growing person with a separate mind and at times separate feelings. They each showed a marked capacity for maternal reflectiveness incorporating mentalization. There were high levels of worry in all six narratives.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Essex for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Full text available for download on 23 Aug 2023.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Families > Mother Child Relations
Research, Tests, Assessments > Psychotherapy Research
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2446

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