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Bick, E. (1964). Notes on Infant Observation in Psycho-Analytic Training. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:558-566.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:558-566

Notes on Infant Observation in Psycho-Analytic Training

Esther Bick

Infant observation was introduced into the curriculum of the Institute of Psycho-Analysis in London in 1960 as part of the course for first year students. The detailed observational material that I am quoting in this paper is mainly drawn from the work of these students. Infant observation had, in fact, been part of the training course for child psychotherapists at the Tavistock Clinic since 1948 when the course began. We then decided to include in the first non-clinical year some practical experience of infants.

I thought this important for many reasons, but perhaps mostly because it would help the students to conceive vividly the infantile experience of their child patients, so that when, for example, they started the treatment of a two-and-a-half-years old child they would get the feel of the baby that he was and from which he is not so far removed. It should also increase the student's understanding of the child's nonverbal behaviour and his play, as well as the behaviour of the child who neither speaks nor plays. Further, it should help the student when he interviews the mother and enable him to understand better her account of the child's history. It would also give each student a unique opportunity to observe the development of an infant more or less from birth, in his home setting and in his relation to his immediate family, and thus to find out for himself how these relations emerge and develop. In addition he would be able to compare and contrast his observations with those of his fellow students in the weekly seminars.

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