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Barrows, P. (2003). Change in Parent — Infant Psychotherapy. J. Child Psychother., 29(3):283-300.

(2003). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 29(3):283-300

Change in Parent — Infant Psychotherapy

Paul Barrows

This paper begins by describing the three main areas that can be addressed in seeking to bring about change in parent—infant work, and questions the extent to which a brief therapy model may be generally effective. Following a clinical example, there is a discussion of the nature of the process of change with this particular population. Drawing on ideas from Paula Heimann and others it is suggested that the ‘ghost in the nursery’ described by Fraiberg represents an ‘unassimilated object’ that may fiequently be projected on to the infant but is also likely to appear elsewhere. It is argued that, especially if therapy relieves the infant of this projection, it will most often manifest its presence in the couple's relationship. In consequence, it is this relationship that should be a primary focus for our interventions, particularly as this also provides the essential context for the infant's psychological development.

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