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The Story of Infant Development

Author(s) : Romana Negri, Author(s) : Martha Harris

The Story of Infant Development
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  • Paperback £23.89
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Synopsis:

This book brings together the closely observed development of Simone (from birth to three) and the perceptive comments of Martha (or Mattie) Harris, who was such an influential figure in the development of the Observational Studies Course at the Tavistock. Romana Negri's pioneering work on neonatal intensive care units is informed both by infant observation and by psychoanalysis. She presents in this volume the transcribed tapes of her detailed observation of a normally developing infant, whom Martha Harris supervised for three years. Other chapters present observations of children in hospital that formed part of their diagnostic assessment, and the book includes commentaries by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris together. This book will be of outstanding interest to all readers whether parents, teachers, or mental health professionals who wish to deepen their understanding of the roots of mental life.

Reviews and Endorsements:

'This book is a double delight. It brings together the closely observed development of Simone (from birth to three) and the perceptive comments of Martha (or Mattie) Harris, who was such an influential figure in the development of the Observational Studies Course at the Tavistock. The editors have treated the original material with great respect, and this puts the reader in touch with the very lively feel of the original seminars. This is a book which will, I am sure, prove to be an indispensable companion to students and teachers of Infant Observation.
- Jonathan Bradley, Organizing Tutor of the Tavistock Observational Studies Course

'Romana Negri's pioneering work on neonatal intensive care units is informed both by infant observation and by psychoanalysis. She presents in this volume the transcribed tapes of her detailed observation of a normally developing infant, whom Martha Harris supervised for three years. Other chapters present observations of children in hospital that formed part of their diagnostic assessment, and the book includes commentaries by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris together. This book will be of outstanding interest to all readers - whether parents, teachers, or mental health professionals - who wish to deepen their understanding of the roots of mental life.
- Maria Rhode, Professor of Child Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic/University of East London

MARTHA HARRIS AND BABY OBSERVATION

'Martha Harris was a born teacher: she loved her subject psychoanalytic thinking - and wanted to communicate that love and inspire it in others. She was an expert in the profoundly infantile both in clinical work and in the direct observation of infants, and she leapt on the points she wanted to elucidate with enthusiasm, warmth and all the clarity of a fully-functioning mind.'
- Lisa Miller, Consultant Child Psychotherapist; Editor, Journal of Infant Observation

'What a pleasure it is to have this record of a sustained encounter with the inspirational teaching of Martha Harris, to whom a whole generation of child psychotherapists feel they owe their fundamental psychoanalytic education and approach to child development and family relationships. The book reminds us of her fresh and lively imagination, disciplined attention to the observational detail, and unrivalled capacity to contain and encourage her students. The children she discusses become complex and memorable individuals through her illuminating commentary. Indeed, her work offers a model of the integration of theory, clinical imagination and life wisdom and allows the reader to share in the creation of meaning through dialogue.'
- Margaret Rustin, Head of Child Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic

Contents
1 The pattern of normal development: forming a relationship with the breast
2 The pattern of normal development: the end of breastfeeding
3 The story of the birth of the next sibling
4 A three-year-old uses the gang as container
5 Play observation in a hospital setting: some diagnostic implications

Notes about the author(s):

Romana Negri graduated in medicine and trained as a child neuropsychiatrist at the University of Milan. From 1970 onwards she attended the seminars of Martha Harris and Donald Meltzer and commenced work projects inspired and influenced by their teaching. From 1976 to 2004 she was a consultant in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Caravaggio Hospital, Treviglio, publishing some of her research findings in The Newborn in the Intensive Care Unit. Since 1982 she has been a professor at Milan University, teaching in the paediatric department of the School of Medicine and the School of Psychiatry and Psychology. She is also responsible for early pathology consultation at the Sacco Hospital in Milan. She has published over one hundred papers in the field of early psychopathology and child psychiatry in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and England.

Martha Harris (1919-1987) read English at University College London and then Psychology at Oxford. She taught in a Froebel Teacher Training College and was trained as a Psychologist at Guys Hospital, as a Child Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, where she was for many years responsible for the child psychotherapy training in the department of Children and Families, and as a Psychoanalyst at the British Institute of Psychoanalysis. Together with her first husband Roland Harris (a teacher) she started a pioneering schools counselling service. With her second husband Donald Meltzer she wrote a psychoanalytical model of The Child in the Family in the Community for multidisciplinary use in schools and therapeutic units.

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