We have much to learn from mothers and babies not just about early life psychic phenomena that are active in us, but also about the analytic technique, when the internal setting becomes more important than the analyst’s interpretative capacity. The infant observation method is a useful tool for the refinement of psychoanalytic listening of primitive phenomena and for the development of the containment and receptive capacity in the analyst or any professional who is dedicated to the early stages of development.
This book is a living testimony of years of observation work with the Bick method, including pregnancy and delivery, and much more spent in the working through of this material, in these unforgettable -- and usually inaccessible -- first three years of life.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"‘This book enables us to learn what is happening to parents when they conceive a child and what happens to babies so dependent on their parents for compassionate comprehension, nurturance, love, and encouragement. Nara Amália Caron and Rita Sobreira Lopes are internationally renowned for their precise, deep, and poetic exposition of infantile states of mind. These six narratives of infants observed from the time of their conception until three years of age reaffirm the authors’ capacity to sensitively describe the complexity of human encounters between the infant and the mother and father. This book is crucially important for parents and mental health professionals, for it brings refreshing new insights regarding the unique personality of each baby in the womb as well as revealing how actively the baby both influences and is influenced by the relationship with the parents. Convincing observations and commentaries enable clinicians to fine-tune their ability to observe and comprehend primitive psychic phenomena presented by people in the consulting room."
- Dr Jeanne Magagna, child, adult, and family psychotherapist, formerly Head of Psychotherapy Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children , editor of The Silent Child: Communication without Words, and co-editor of Intimate Transformations: Babies with their Families
"This book is essential reading for everyone interested in infant observation and its applications. Nara Amália Caron and Rita Sobreira Lopes are passionate about observation and its use in research in all kinds of places. These include ultrasound examinations with parents-to-be and their extended families, in the delivery room itself, and with babies who are not going to survive. In all settings, they are struck anew by the observers’ painful, direct, primitive experience of what babies feel. Their training of and support for their observer-researchers takes them back to the originator of infant observation, Esther Bick, for whom, along with Donald Winnicott they have profound respect and gratitude. The authors’ knowledge, particularly of places where 'verbalisation has no meaning' has inspired many future analytic practitioners and observer-researchers, and their devotion to discussing and publishing their findings is an inspiring gift to us all."
- Trudy Klauber, editor of Infant Observation: The International Journal of Infant Observation and its Applications
Table of Contents:
About the Authors
Preface by A. H. Brafman
Part I: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations
1) A place where verbalization has no meaning
2) A research journey to this place where verbalization has no meaning
Part II: Mothers’ and Babies’ Journeys in the First Three Years of Life
3) Maiara and her twins, Raoni and Anahi: one womb to gestate two, each in its own time
4) Lucia and her twins, Daniela and Renata: the birth of fraternity in the struggle against maternal indiscrimination
5) Tânia and her daughter, Julie: the creative recovery of discontinuities in a tailor-made space of protection, care, and mutual growth
6) Alice and her daughter, Valentina: a ferocious struggle to be born
7) Philomena: an inner journey back to the beginning
Part III: Back to the Beginning
8) The challenges and contributions of this “descent to the realm of the mothers”
About the Authors:
Nara Amália Caron is a medical doctor, and a child, adolescent and adult psychoanalyst. She is a full member of the Porto Alegre Psychoanalytic Society (SPPA), Brazil, a training analyst at the SPPA Institute, and the director of the SPPA Infant and Adolescent Unit from 2010-2011. She has been a seminar leader of infant observation groups according to Esther Bick for more than thirty years.
Rita Sobreira Lopes has a PhD in psychology from the University of London. She is Full Professor in Developmental Psychology, with emphasis on emotional development, and senior researcher for the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), as well as one of coordinators of the Infant and Family Unit at the Institute of Psychology, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil.