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Jones, S. Bunston, W. (2012). The “Original Couple”: Enabling Mothers and Infants to Think about What Destroys as Well as Engenders Love, When There Has Been Intimate Partner Violence. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(2):215-232.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(2):215-232

The “Original Couple”: Enabling Mothers and Infants to Think about What Destroys as Well as Engenders Love, When There Has Been Intimate Partner Violence

Sarah Jones and Wendy Bunston

This paper addresses the importance for therapists, working with infants, of holding in mind all aspects of the parental couple's relationship history, both positive and negative. This also includes the therapists' possible ambivalence about a violent father. Using object relations and attachment theory frameworks we articulate our approach to the “original couple” when working in the area of family violence and infant mental health. We propose that if therapists can develop this capacity, it assists both mothers, and ultimately their infants, in tolerating thinking about their violent experiences. Work with infants and their mothers in an infant/mother psychotherapy group for those affected by family violence is described, illustrated by a clinical vignette.

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