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Jacobs, L. (2006). Parent-Centered Work: A Relational Shift in Child Treatment. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 5(2):226-239.

(2006). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 5(2):226-239

Parent-Centered Work: A Relational Shift in Child Treatment

Linda Jacobs, Ph.D.

In recent decades, the influence of attachment theory, relational theories, and infant research has shifted therapeutic focus from a one-person to a two-person psychology. Dyadic relational patterns and the intersubjective nature of experience have assumed prominence in the ways in which analysts conceptualize disturbance and intervention. This paradigm shift has altered the focus of child treatment to emphasize consultative work with parents. Using a relational understanding of behavior, I propose therapeutic intervention with the parent alone, in which parents are helped to establish a more effective role through greater self-awareness and a greater understanding of their child's internal experience. Parent work strives to reconfigure relational patterns through an alteration of projections and introjections, which in turn, alters the self-experience of the child. Clinical material illustrates the shift from individual work with the child to parent-centered work.

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