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Elmhirst, S.I. (1990). The Value of Grandparents. Psychoanal. Psychother., 5(1):11-19.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 5(1):11-19

The Value of Grandparents

Susanna Isaacs Elmhirst, FRCP, FRCPsych

This paper is a slightly revised version of a paper presented on 26 October 1989 as one of the Tavistock Open Lectures. The role of grandparents is discussed and the value of a supportive presence, both externally and internally, is emphasised, especially at birth and at times of mental illness. This concept is extended to the maternal or ‘grand’-maternal role adopted by agencies attempting to improve the quality of mental care, and its value is also visible in the transference in psychotherapeutic work.

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