The Baby as Subject: Clinical Studies in Infant-Parent Therapy

Editor : Campbell Paul, Editor : Frances Thomson-Salo

The Baby as Subject: Clinical Studies in Infant-Parent Therapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : October 2013
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 336
  • Category :
    Child and Adolescent Studies
  • Catalogue No : 33121
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780491165
  • ISBN 10 : 1780491166
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This book is a collection of papers by clinicians united in their conviction about the importance of directly engaging and interacting with the baby in the presence of the parents whenever possible. This approach, which draws on the work of Winnicott, Trevarthen and Stern, honours the baby as subject. It re-presents the baby to the parents who may in that way see a new child, in turn shaping the infant’s implicit memories and reflective thinking. Recent neurobiological, attachment and developmental psychology models inform the work.

The book describes the underpinning theoretical principles and the settings and forms of direct clinical practice, ranging from work with acutely ill babies, to more everyday interventions in crying, feeding and sleeping difficulties, as well as infant-parent psychotherapy. Clinicians at The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne from the disciplines of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, psychology, nursing, speech pathology, child psychotherapy, paediatrics, and music therapy describe their work with ill and suffering babies and their families. Other contributors are community-based clinicians who have completed the University of Melbourne Graduate Diploma of Infant Mental Health.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This book brings the reader even closer to the baby’s experience through the imaginative work of these Australian clinicians, in the way that they have built their interventions around the individual “baby as subject in the presence of the parents”. Coming from this perspective, the editors and authors deeply enrich the multidisciplinary field of infant mental health and the discipline of parent–infant psychotherapy.’
— Tessa Baradon, manager and lead clinician of the Anna Freud Centre Parent Infant Project, London, and Visiting Professor, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

‘This volume captures an approach to infant–parent therapeutic intervention where the experience of the infant is central. The infant is seen as a communicating subject with a unique perspective and capacity to engage and use the therapies described. A variety of case examples are used to powerfully illustrate the importance of direct work with the infant and the therapist’s role in understanding the inner world of the infant.’
— Professor Louise Newman AM, Professor of Developmental Psychiatry, Director, Center for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Monash University, Australia

‘This collaborative, thought-provoking collection by leading professionals from a range of disciplines is a gratifying work of substantial scholarship and clinical richness. With its singular emphasis on the importance upon understanding the experience of the baby in the parent–infant relationship, Campbell Paul and Frances Thomson-Salo have provided us with a compelling book, which should become an indispensable resource for professionals working with infants and their families everywhere. This thoughtful and humane volume is a remarkable addition to the field of infant and child mental health. A timely and invaluable book.’
— Professor J. Kevin Nugent, Director, the Brazelton Institute; Boston Children’s Hospital; and Harvard Medical School, USA

‘The spirit of Donald Winnicott has travelled to Australia and inspired a large team of infant mental health professionals to create a stimulating book of their learning and achievement, both practical and theoretical. This volume should appeal to all professionals who aspire to help troubled parent–infant relationships become “good enough”.’
— Dr Juliet Hopkins, Honorary Consultant Child Psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, London

About the Editor(s)

Campbell Paul is a Consultant Infant and Child Psychiatrist at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and Honorary Principal Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. At the University he and colleagues established a Graduate Diploma and a Masters Course in Infant and Parent Mental Health. This course developed out of his longstanding experience in paediatric consultation liaison psychiatry and work in infant parent psychotherapy. He has a special interest in the understanding of the inner world of the baby, particularly as it informs therapeutic work with infants and their parents. With colleagues he has developed models of working in therapeutic groups with troubled parents and infants. He has been a consultant psychiatrist at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service has also been involved in the establishment of the Koori Kids Mental Health Network. He has worked with NT child mental health services in Central Australia. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and has been a participant in and organizer of a number of local and international conferences and activities in the field of infant mental health.

Frances Thomson Salo trained with the British Society as a child and adult psychoanalyst, is a Training analyst and past President of the Australian Psychoanalytical Society, Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association Committee of Women in Psychoanalysis, an editorial board member of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, a consultant infant mental health clinician at the Royal Women's Hospital and child psychotherapist at the Royal Children's Hospital, an Honorary Fellow of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, an Associate Professor on the faculty of the University of Melbourne Graduate Diploma for Infant and Parent Mental Health, and has published on child and infant-parent psychotherapy.

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