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Standish, L. (2015). Where is the Baby from, Why is it Here? Creative Ways of Working with Dissociated States in Private Practice. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(1):107-119.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(1):107-119

Rozsika Parker Essay Prize 2013: Commended Papers

Where is the Baby from, Why is it Here? Creative Ways of Working with Dissociated States in Private Practice

Liz Standish

Through one clinical example involving complex post-traumatic stress disorder, this paper explores the ways in which the psychoanalytic psychotherapist may need to find creative ways of working which incorporate findings from neuroscience whilst holding the basic frame and methods of the traditional psychoanalytic approach. This entails bringing knowledge of how the body (including the brain) works into the consulting room. In particular, the author describes ways of accompanying the patient during florid flashbacks to chronic and severe childhood abuse and of using grounding techniques afterwards, so that anxiety levels can be sufficiently contained for the necessary therapeutic work to take place. The role of supervision is also explored in terms of how the dynamic of rescuer/ victim/persecutor may be played out in the supervisory relationship. Unusually, some of the patient's own reflections, written at the end of the therapy, have been incorporated into the paper. Consideration is given to whether departures from standard psychoanalytic technique constitute boundary violations or useful enactments, which can be seen as a form of creativity which enables the work to move on.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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