Caring for the mother as well as her children

Foster, Angela (2019) Caring for the mother as well as her children. In: Mothers accused and abused: Addressing complex psychological needs. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 16-26. ISBN 9781315105550

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This chapter makes the case for a return to longer-term work if we are to be effective in caring for the damaged and damaging mothers who are both the product of and purveyors of perverse mothering: the mothers described in Chapter 1 by Estela Welldon, as abusing their own bodies and those of their babies and children. When we remove the children and subsequently abandon the mother our interventions are experienced as punitive and rejecting. Yet when we stay with them we are faced with rage and rejection and are implicitly invited to collude with them in perpetrating further abuse and neglect by cutting short any help we offer. Women for whom care has so often been abusive and who, as a result, distrust and reject therapeutic help pose particular challenges to those wishing to work with them. A series of case examples is used to convey some of the complexities in treating these women, by identifying the challenges they pose, the ways in which we fail them, the tragic outcomes and the relentlessness of the problem.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Abuse & Neglect - Psychology
Criminology > Forensic Psychiatry
Criminology > Forensic Psychotherapy
Families > Mother Child Relations
Families > Maternal Deprivation
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Department/People: Honorary Staff

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