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McLaren, S. (2014). Birds, Beasts and Babies: Notes from an Infant Observation. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(4):462-474.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(4):462-474

Rozsika Parker Essay Prize 2013

Birds, Beasts and Babies: Notes from an Infant Observation

Sally McLaren

This essay is based on my final report covering the second year of my Infant Observation of baby Max. I attempt to convey my experience and the impact it has had upon me and this takes me into a number of different areas: into the content and symbolism of what I observed, into the relationships between observer and child, mother and infant, analyst and analysand and into stories and mythology. As images and symbols are amplified threads link together. Synchronicity is one of the uniting factors and I relate my thoughts and observations to the work and theories of others. Beasts appear - the goldfinch, the fly, the Gruffalo, the mouse, the Wild Things … and more - and I consider how these might offer a window into Max's inner world. I focus on the interface between internal and external worlds and reflect upon the concept of an intermediate space and the question of meaning.

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