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Norman, J. (2001). The Psychoanalyst and the Baby: A New Look at Work With Infants. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(1):83-100.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(1):83-100

The Psychoanalyst and the Baby: A New Look at Work With Infants Related Papers

Johan Norman

The author argues that objections to involving the infant in a relationship with an analyst have led psychoanalysts to overlook the possibility that the interaction between the infant and the analyst may be able to activate and retrieve those parts of the infant's inner world that have been excluded from containment and be conducive to a vitalisation of the emotional disturbance that can then become worked through in the mother-infant relationship. As long as the infant's ego is weak, the infant and the mother have a unique flexibility that enables them to repair disturbances in their relationship when the emotional container-contained link is (re-)established. Based on the assumptions (1) that a relationship can be established between the infant and the analyst, (2) that the infant has a primordial subjectivity and self as base for intersubjectivity and the search for containment, (3) that the infant has an unique flexibility in changing representations of itself and others that comes to an end as the ego develops, and (4) that the infant is able to procss aspects of language, three cases, at the ages of 6, 18 and 20 months, are presented to illustrate what is considered to be a novel approach to work with infants.

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