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Beebe, B. Sloate, P. (1982). Assesment and Treatment of Difficulties in Mother-Infant Attunement in the First Three Years of Life: A Case History. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(4):601-623.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(4):601-623

Assesment and Treatment of Difficulties in Mother-Infant Attunement in the First Three Years of Life: A Case History

Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D. and Phyllis Sloate, Ph.D.

There is general consensus within the psychoanalytic literature that a crucial issue in the infant's development is the maternal capacity for “attunement” (Jacobson, 1964; Spitz, 1965; Winnicott, 1971, 1974; Mahler, Pine and Bergman, 1975). This capacity is based in large measure on the mother's ability to differentiate her child's needs from her own and maintain an appropriate level of stimulation and need satisfaction for her infant. An adequate “holding environment” (Winnicott, 1974), wherein the mother is sensitive and responsive to her infant's needs, will gradually promote the child's slow internalization of the maternal soothing function (Tolpin, 1971), to help organize beginning ego functions and modulate the intensity of the drives. This, in turn, ensures a generally positive unfolding of all future development.

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