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Apter, G. (2015). Therapeutic Creativity, Complexity, and Ed Tronick’s Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(4):417-429.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(4):417-429

Therapeutic Creativity, Complexity, and Ed Tronick’s Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness

Gisèle Apter, M.D., Ph.D.

Ed Tronick’s research on interaction and infant development has greatly inspired clinicians. His new focus on the infant resulted in changes in ways of thinking about infant development and in the psychotherapeutic methods used with very young infants and their caregivers. The mutual regulation model (MRM) gave empirical support to clinical observations and later gave rise to the Still Face paradigm. The MRM model offers a theoretical framework for developing detailed mother–infant therapeutic capacities while it raises major theoretical questions on the manners in which the infant’s personal inner world develops. Considering the parent–infant dyad as a whole underscores the need to address infant and parental characteristics together, integrating development itself as an important force for mental health. This suggests that the infant is both a system in itself, capable of self-organization, and a part of a cocreating system with his or her partner, for example in the dyadic organization of states. It could mean that analysts should probably be both modest and brazen in their therapeutic interventions, taking advantage, as clinicians of knowledge based on the latest scientific research, linked to experience and culturally appropriate socially sensitive interventions. In this way, they may provide positively enriched experiences, working through problematic negative emotions that our patients will keep and use in their own creative way.

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