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McFadyen, A. (1995). Reflections on Special-Care Babies and their Early Experience. Psychoanal. Psychother., 9(2):157-174.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 9(2):157-174

Reflections on Special-Care Babies and their Early Experience

Dr Anne McFadyen

In this paper the author presents some ideas about rapprochement and reciprocity, and considers them in relation to the experience of special-care babies and their mothers. Psychoanalytic infant-observation is discussed in the context of the relationship between psychoanalysis and developmental psychology and its value as a method of research is explored. Observational research has contributed to the understanding of early mother-infant relationships, and in particular has highlighted the importance of reciprocity and fit. The crucial importance of this in relation to premature babies’ early relationships is illustrated by the presentation of extracts from the observations of three mother-child pairs during their stay in a special-care baby unit.

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