Mothers Accused and Abused : Addressing Complex Psychological Needs book cover
1st Edition

Mothers Accused and Abused
Addressing Complex Psychological Needs

Edited By

Angela Foster

ISBN 9781138095847
Published October 25, 2018 by Routledge
194 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Mothers Accused and Abused: Addressing Complex Psychological Needs brings together stories about mothers who are accused of harming, and in some cases killing, their children, children who subsequently harm or kill others and the challenges to professionals who work with them.

Contributors consider the deeply rooted cycles of neglect and abuse manifested in the childhoods of mothers, who only come to our attention when their extreme distress is expressed through their actions. By recognising the long-standing, unmet dependency needs of abused and neglected women, the book argues that longer term engagement can prevent a seemingly endless repetition of court hearings and imprisonment, and thereby address cycles of neglect.


With sections on mothers in prison and interventions following child care proceedings, Mothers Accused and Abused will be a valuable resource to those working in the criminal and civil justice systems, social work and mental health as well as others who, in a professional or personal capacity, encounter troubled mothers and their children.

Table of Contents

List of contributors




Angela Foster



Setting the scene: Reflections on a ground-breaking book

  1. Mother, madonna, whore: understanding perverse mothering: Reflections on a ground-breaking book
  2. Estela V. Welldon

  3. Caring for the mother and as well as her children
  4. Angela Foster

  5. Mothers and the law: Mythologies and stereotypes - a woman’s lot?
  6. Helena Kennedy



    The pain of relationships lived and re-lived

  7. Infanticide, matricide or suicide
  8. Carine Minne

  9. Treating violent men: The significance of the mother-son relationship
  10. Celia Taylor

  11. Staff accused and abused: Managing anxiety, pain and distress in systems of care
  12. Angela Foster



    Mothers in prison

  13. Transition to motherhood and becoming a child-less mother in prison
  14. Laura Abbott

  15. Therapy with a mother and baby in prison
  16. Pamela Windham Stewart

  17. Cover stories: Art psychotherapy with mothers in prison who have killed or harmed their children
  18. Jessica Collier



    Interventions following child care proceedings

  19. Last chance saloon: From repetition to growth, a young mother's journey in brief psychotherapy
  20. Fiona Henderson

  21. Better outcomes and better justice: The Family Drug and Alcohol Court
  22. Steve Bambrough, Nicholas Crichton & Sheena Webb

  23. The mother in mind: A therapeutic group for mothers who have had a child removed from their care
  24. Gwen Adshead & Anna Williams

  25. Taking a break: The work of Pause

Content provided by Pause



Ways forward

Ways forward

Angela Foster, Beate Schumacher & Davina Jhummun


Glossary of psychoanalytic terms

Robert D. Hinshelwood



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Angela Foster is a psychiatric social worker, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, supervisor and consultant working with clinical teams and individuals in mental health, forensic, substance misuse and child care services. She has published many papers and co-edited a number of books.