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Fraiberg, S. Adelson, E. (1976). Infant-Parent Psychotherapy on Behalf of a Child in a Critical Nutritional State. Psychoanal. St. Child, 31:461-491.

(1976). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 31:461-491

Infant-Parent Psychotherapy on Behalf of a Child in a Critical Nutritional State

Selma Fraiberg and Edna Adelson

IN THIS PAPER WE DESCRIBE THE TREATMENT OF AN INFANT BOY WHO was referred to our Infant Mental Health program at 5 months of age in a grave nutritional state. The baby was starving. His growth curve showed an ominous downward plunge which our pediatricians read as the profile of an infant who was moving toward the critical (and sometimes irreversible) state which is broadly covered by the term "failure to thrive." The term "failure to thrive" describes those infants who show growth failure in the absence of any organic cause. In strict usage it is employed for infants whose weight has fallen below the third percentile. It is almost universally associated with the impairment of the mother's capacity to nourish both in the concrete and in the psychological sense of the word.


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