1st Edition

Mother-Baby-Toddler Group Guide A Psychodynamic Approach

By Ilene S. Lefcourt Copyright 2023
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is a comprehensive guide for leading mother-baby-toddler groups, a text for teaching child development, and a handbook for early intervention.

    The guidelines provide a detailed psychodynamic approach to resolve typical developmental and mothering difficulties that arise during the first three years of life. As mothers' thoughts about their babies and toddlers ricochet between the past, the present, and the future, mothers' childhood memories are activated and out of awareness influence mother-child interactions. Specific interventions that generate mothers' self-reflection and insight are delineated. Group questions are organized by age and psychodynamic theme. Compelling vignettes illustrate synergies between the supportive and educational group-process, and the psychodynamic interventions with each mother-child dyad. Difficulties are resolved before they escalate into disorders. This is the first psychodynamic group guide to extend the infant mental health focus on treatment, to include prevention. 

    Experienced clinicians, students, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and others interested in infant mental health and mothers’ well-being will find the specific guidelines practical, informative, and illuminating.

    Section 1: Guideline Principles  Introduction  1. Psychodynamic Themes  2. Mother-Child Proximity  Section 2: Mother-Baby-Toddler Groups  3. Beginning Groups  Section 3: Child Development Information and Group Questions  4. 2 to 4 Months  5. 11 to 19 Months  6. 20 to 28 Months  7. 29 to 36 Months  Section 4  8. Individual Sessions with Group Mothers


    Ilene S. Lefcourt established the Sackler Lefcourt Center for Child Development in 1982. She was the director, led the mother-baby-toddler groups, and provided developmental consultation to parents for over 35 years. She taught child psychiatry residents and parent-infant psychotherapy trainees about her work. She has been a faculty member at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research Parent-Infant Program since 1995. Ms. Lefcourt is currently in private practice in NYC. She is the author of Parenting and Childhood Memories: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Reverberating Ghosts and Magic.

    'This is a very kind book. It is kind to the reader because it is so clear, informative, and hopeful; it is eminently kind to the mothers, babies, and toddlers. The way in which a mother’s critical observation of her baby or herself can be turned into a more generous view and thereby change mother-child interactions is stunning. May this methodology spread, as it will change many lives.'

    Anne Alvarez, consultant Child and Adolescent psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, London; author, The Thinking Heart

    'This thoughtful guide embodies the author’s profound understanding of mother-child relationships in the critical first three years of a child’s life. The specific support, educational, and psychodynamic intervention components that create a reflective space are carefully described and richly illustrated. This book is so readable and informative, it can enrich a broad range of practitioners, and parents themselves.'

    Tessa Baradon, Parent-Infant Project, Anna Freud Centre; co-director, International Training School for Infancy and Early Years; author, The Practice of Psychoanalytic Parent-Infant Psychotherapy: Claiming the Baby

    'This wonderful book fills an important gap in the current literature on parenting interventions. The Guide derives much of its power from the wealth of narratives describing the way the group-leader recruits mothers’ memories from their own childhoods to give meaning to current problems with their babies and toddlers thereby offering insight to all group members.'

    Alexandra Harrison, training and supervising analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; assistant professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; founder, Supporting Child Caregivers - Infant-parent mental health training non-profit throughout the world

    'This wonderfully valuable book is an eminently practical guide. Its distinctiveness is in the detailed vignettes that describe the complex challenges at each age and the unique way developmental information is integrated with psychodynamic intervention. This book is for experienced clinicians and early career professionals.'

    Wendy Olesker, training and supervising adult and child analyst, New York Psychoanalytic Institute; editorial board, Psychoanalytic Study of the Child

    'The Mother-Baby-Toddler Group Guide is straight forward in its outline, yet at the same time is a multilayered and intricate template that offers depth and nuance as it powerfully weaves together many ideas about fostering resilience in mothers, babies, and toddlers. The many vignettes provide vivid illustration of the intense emotions’ mothers experience and how the integrated educational and psychodynamic group process provides understanding and time to reflect.'

    Rita Reiswig, co-director, The Anni Bergman Parent-Infant Program, Contemporary Freudian Society and IPTAR; psychoanalyst for adults, adolescents, and children