Transferences in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy

November 5, 2013
Lecturer: Bjorn Salomonsson, MD
Discussant: Theodore Shapiro, MD

From Freud and onwards, psychoanalytic theory is based, to a substantial extent, on speculations about the infant mind. Nevertheless, these imaginations have not left much imprint on clinical practice. Until recently, only a limited number of analysts were treating babies and parents. Today, the scene is changing and many therapists take a vivid interest in infant research and therapy. Another paradoxical phenomenon then emerges; parent-infant therapists, though rooted and trained in the psychoanalytic tradition, describe therapeutic processes with concepts from other disciplines such as neuroscience, infant research, and attachment theory. The risk is that they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As I see it, psychoanalytic concepts are important tools for describing therapeutic processes with non-verbal patients. I will investigate if the concept of transference is applicable not only to the parents in these therapies but also to their babies. (Dr. Salomonssom is a Professor at the Karolinska Institute, training analyst at the Swedish Analytic Society, and an IPA member.)