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Isosävi, S. Wahlström, J. Flykt, M. Heiskanen, L. Finger, B. Puura, K. Punamäki, R. (2019). Dysregulated Motherhood: Exploring the Risk Features in a Mother’s Caregiving Representations. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 18(1):29-57.

(2019). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 18(1):29-57

Dysregulated Motherhood: Exploring the Risk Features in a Mother’s Caregiving Representations

Sanna Isosävi, MA Psych, Jarl Wahlström, Ph.D., Marjo Flykt, Ph.D., Lotta Heiskanen, Lic.A Psych, Brent Finger, Ph.D., Kaija Puura, Ph.D. and Raija-Leena Punamäki, Ph.D.

In the case of a mother with dysregulating attachment experiences and current enrolment in a parent-infant psychotherapy process, we explored which insecure, hostile/helpless, and prementalizing risk features were similar in her attachment and caregiving representations; which risk features were specific to her caregiving representations; and how these theory-defined features overlapped in detecting caregiving risks. Risk features in the attachment representations were assessed from the adult attachment interview and risk features in the caregiving representations from written psychotherapy notes. We found similar insecure (preoccupied and disorganized), prementalizing and hostile/helpless instances from both the attachment and the caregiving representations. However, confusion between self and child, greater variance in lapses into prementalizing, and specific and concrete fears and helplessness were unique to the caregiving representations. Hostile/helpless instances were found in tandem with almost all insecure and prementalizing instances, indicating this conceptualization captured risks in the caregiving representations most comprehensively. Fearful and helpless caregiving representations occurred somewhat independently from other risk conceptualizations, suggesting they need to be identified as independent phenomena. The results imply that detecting specific manifestations of intergenerational risks from caregiving representations is possible.

[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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