Separating from mother and saying goodbye to the infant observer

Magagna, Jeanne and Dwyer Hall, Holly (2019) Separating from mother and saying goodbye to the infant observer. Infant Observation: International Journal of Infant Observation and Its Applications, 22 (2-3). pp. 105-119. ISSN 1369-8036 (Print), 1745-8943 (Online)

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This paper explores ending an infant observation and considers how we should end two-year infant observations? The authors use extracts from a two-year observation and trace the baby's experiences of separations from birth until the final observation, situating them in the context of the internal and external resources available to help the baby manage the pain associated with loss. Observation material shows how the baby's capacity to play enabled her symbolically to communicate her feelings about the observer's departure and how an otherwise supportive and containing environment seemed to struggle to assist the baby in ‘saying goodbye' during the final observations. Studies on mothers' experiences of ending infant observations are considered in the context of the practice of psychoanalytic infant observation and the idea that the observer is often a positive and reliable figure for the baby and as part of the weekly routine. The paper suggests that planning how to end a two-year infant observation should relate to the child’s internal world and external containment, and that separation and ending the observation can be traumatic in some circumstances. 

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 19 Nov 2019
Uncontrolled Keywords: Infant Observation, Endings, Symbolic Play, Trauma
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Development
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Babies
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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