Where are we now? Reflections on infant observation then and now

Rustin, Margaret (2022) Where are we now? Reflections on infant observation then and now. Infant Observation: International Journal of Infant Observation and Its Applications . ISSN 1369-8036 (Print), 1745-8943 (Online)

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Abstract

This overview starts in the 1960s and extends to 2022. It addresses debates about the technique of the observer and the conduct of seminars and describes the many changes in practice over that period. It summarises some of the important discoveries which drew on infant observation as well as clinical experience: Bick’s ‘second skin’, Maiello’s ‘sound object’, Meltzer’s ‘aesthetic conflict’, and numerous investigations of infants with particular vulnerabilities, including Piontelli’s twin studies and more recent observations of infants in a variety of particular life circumstances such as those born via surrogacy or living in foster care. The impressive extensions of the observational method beyond infancy and the use of observation as a clinical intervention are discussed. Finally, the adaptations of the method necessitated by the global pandemic are explored, with an emphasis on the changed role of the mother in distant observation. A clinical example using many different forms of distant contact to support a highly vulnerable mother/ infant couple is presented as an encouragement to engage with new ways of working.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Evolution of observational method, Discoveries and applications in psycho-analytic observation, Adaptation in the COVID pandemic, Risks in online observation, Creative use of technology
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Department/People: Department of Education and Training
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2686

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