A quiet corner room. Give credit to psychoanalytic pioneers who made such moments expectable

Kraemer, Sebastian (2016) A quiet corner room. Give credit to psychoanalytic pioneers who made such moments expectable. BMJ, 355 (i6037). ISSN 1756-1833

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Jenna Gartner's deeply touching account of an emergency stillbirth delivery might have had a very different outcome 40 years ago. From 1968 until the 1990s two physician-psychoanalysts at the Tavistock Clinic in London, Emanuel Lewis and Stanford Bourne, wrote a series of articles in medical journals, of which "the management of stillbirth: coping with an unreality" is one of the most memorable. "The difficulty of grieving someone 'missing in action' is well known; a death without a body seen by anyone seems unreal". Yet disposal without contact was routine practice until the latter half of the twentieth century. Dr Lewis goes on "there is an added sense of unreality with stillbirth as there are no experiences with the baby to remember. Looking at and holding the dead baby, giving the baby a name, arranging the certification, attending the funeral, and knowing its grave help make stillbirth a reality for the family". Emanuel Lewis, The Management of Stillbirth; Coping with an Unreality. The Lancet, September 18, 1976

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published 10 November 2016
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Families > Childbirth
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalysis
Department/People: Honorary Staff
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472

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