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Werbart, A. Grünbaum, C. Jonasson, B. Kempe, H. Kusz, M. Linde, S. O'Nils, K.L. Sjövall, P. Svenson, M. Theve, C. Ulin, L. Öhlin, A. (2011). Changes in the Representations of Mother and Father among Young Adults in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(1):95-116.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(1):95-116

Changes in the Representations of Mother and Father among Young Adults in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Andrzej Werbart, Ph.D., Camilla Grünbaum, M.S., Britta Jonasson, M.S., Helena Kempe, M.S., Milosz Kusz, M.S., Solweig Linde, M.S., Karin Lundén O'Nils, M.S., Patrik Sjövall, M.S., Minna Svenson, M.S., Catharina Theve, M.S., Lena Ulin, M.S. and Agneta Öhlin, M.S.

The present study explores the changes in young adult patients' representations of their parents from prior to psychotherapy through long-term follow-up. Twenty-five women and 16 men from the Young Adult Psychotherapy Project (YAPP) were interviewed according to Sidney Blatt's unstructured Object Relations Inventory prior to psychoanalytic psychotherapy, at termination and at the 1.5-year follow-up, comprising 123 interviews in all. Typologies of the 246 parental descriptions were constructed by means of ideal-type analysis for male and female patients separately, and for representations of mother and father separately. The analysis resulted in 5 to 7 ideal types of mother and father representations. Prior to psychotherapy, women's representations of their fathers and men's representations of their mothers seemed most problematic. As to the content, the most common descriptions of the parent were the emotionally or physically absent parent, and the parent with his or her own problems. In most cases, the descriptions of the parent changed over time in terms of belonging to different ideal-type clusters. There were important improvements in the quality of the descriptions, and the changes continued after termination of psychotherapy. However, most of the parental representations were negative in all three interviews. The possible explanations of these findings are discussed.

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