1st Edition

Parent-Infant Psychotherapy for Sleep Problems Through the Night

By Dilys Daws, Sarah Sutton Copyright 2020
    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sleep problems are among the most common, urgent and undermining troubles parents meet. This book describes Dilys Daws' pioneering method of therapy for sleep problems, honed over 40 years of work with families: brief psychoanalytic therapy with parents and infants together.

    Offering tried and tested ways of helping parents work things out better with their babies when such problems arise, this new edition of Dilys Daws’ classic work, updated with expert help from Sarah Sutton, frees professionals from the burden of feeling they need to rush to give advice to families, showing instead how to begin the challenging journey of discovering new emotions that every baby brings. It sheds light on the sleep problem in the context of a whole range of aspects of the early world: the regulation of babies’ physiological states; dreams and nightmares; the development of separateness; separation and attachment problems; and connections with feeding and weaning.

    This much-needed, compassionate and well-informed guide to helping parents and babies with sleep problems draws on twenty-first century development research and rich clinical wisdom to offer ways of understanding sleep problems in each individual family context, with all its particular pressures and possibilities. It will be treasured by new parents struggling with sleeplessness and is enormously valuable for anyone working with parents and their babies.

    Preface Acknowledgements 01. What is a Sleep Problem? PART I 02. Brief Psychoanalytic Therapy for Sleep Problems 03. A Case Study: The Armitage Family PART II 04. The Physiology of Sleep States 05. Babies’ Physiological States and Parenting 06. Dreams and Nightmares 07. The Development of Separateness of Self 08. Separation and Attachment Problems 09. The Connections of Sleep Problems with Feeding and Weaning 10. Parents’ Own Childhood Experiences 11. Father’s Role, the Parents’ Relationship, Single Parents and Returning to Work 12. Disturbed Sleep as a Psychosomatic Problem 13. Mother’s mental health and wellbeing 14. Children with particulat needs and abilities CONCLUSION Bibliography Index


    Dilys Daws was a consultant child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic, chair of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, founding chair of the Association for Infant Mental Health-UK, and continues as a visiting consultant at the Baby Clinic of the James Wigg Practice, Kentish Town. She is joint author with Alexandra de Rementeria of the BMA prize-winning book Finding Your Way with Your Baby: The Emotional Life of Parents and Infants (2015).

    Sarah Sutton is the author of Being Taken In: The Framing Relationship (2014) and Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience and the Stories of Our Lives: The Relational Roots of Mental Health (2019), which reframe mental health symptoms as adaptations to a particular intergenerational context. She is the founder of Understanding Children and co-founder of the Learning Studio, writing, teaching and working on the interface between development research and psychoanalytic ideas.

    'This rewarding book provides a fundamental contribution to the literature on parent infant psychotherapy. Dilys Daws' compassionate understanding creates an accepting emotional climate which is the necessary foundation for successful work. The experience of reading it can itself feel therapeutic. It is indeed a masterpiece in its field.'

    - Juliet Hopkins, Hon Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic

    'I am delighted that a new generation of practitioners will benefit from this updated edition of Dilys Daws’ thoroughly professional and practical book of wisdom. It is like a calm, reliable friend who is always there to help those supporting families with sleep problems. I have used Through the Night successfully over many years to inform and guide my health visitor practice and can highly recommend it.'

    - Maggie Harris, Specialist Health Visitor for Infant Mental Health (Retired), Former Hon Sec of AIMH UK

    'This book by Dilys Daws is an essential resource for any clinician working with distressed infants and their families. The author has woven an amazing tapestry from clinical wisdom, psychoanalytic understandings and infancy research to create a thoughtful and practical guide to working with infants with sleep difficulties. Drawing on the knowledge of relationship-based neurophysiology of infancy, psychoanalysis, attachment theory and infancy research we are given a powerfully rich picture of the baby as a person within her intimate relationships. Through this book we see how brief psychoanalytic therapy can be used to help sleep disrupted infants and parents seen in the family medical practice through to the psychotherapist’s clinic. Through exploring the meaning of the infant’s behaviour, we learn how to support parents to ensure that the baby falling asleep feels safe and loved from the very beginning of life.'

    - Associate Prof Campbell Paul, Consultant Infant Psychiatrist, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and the University of Melbourne, President-Elect, World Association for Infant Mental Health

    'This book still remains so completely relevant, essential and interesting to anyone working with babies and their families. The combination of clear explanations behind sleep problems and case studies, written with such compassion and understanding, make it very accessible to exhausted parents with their sleepless infants, and professionals trying to support them. I just wish I had known about this book sooner both as a parent and as a GP.'

    - Dr Jane Sackville-West, GP and Trainer at the James Wigg Practice


    Praise for Through the Night: Helping Parents with Sleepless Infants:

    'Through the Night is the most interesting, readable and memorable book on human infant development I have ever read. Almost effortlessly, the reader learns about some of the most important theories of human development and infant psychiatry. Daws manages to teach both lay person and professional alike, equally well, by introducing us to a particular problem: how and why infants sleep, or fail to sleep, as their parents wish them to. Parent-infant sleep struggles are discussed beautifully within a context that deals simultaneously with the psychological landscapes of the parents and the larger cultural context within which they intersect. Students, parents, psychologists and psychiatrists will be captivated and enthralled.'

    - James McKenna, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, Pomona College and Department of Psychiatry, University of California Irvine School of Medicine

    'In Through the Night Dilys Daws demonstrates her firm grasp of the two interacting sides of sleeplessness in children: the one that reflects the biological basis of children’s sleep, and the other that reflects the psychological factors which impact upon sleepless children and their parents. Daws clearly recognizes that to help families with sleepless children it is necessary to take both of these into consideration. And – which others often fail to do – she helps parents first recognize the specific nature of their child’s problem before deciding upon a treatment programme to deal with it. She does all this with warmth, reason, understanding and compassion. This is a welcome addition to a limited literature dealing with a major problem.'

    - Richard Ferber, MD, Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass., and author of Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide for Parents

    'The writing on the therapy provides the highlights of the book. Lively case vignettes are followed by some beautiful writing on therapeutic process … as a powerful and sensitive way of working with parents in the context of young families, her clinical descriptions will be absorbing and instructive reading for many professionals.'

    - British Journal of Psychiatry

    '… a beautifully recounted and carefully conceptualized account of sleeping difficulties in small children … It is clear that Dilys Daws’ sensitive and empathetic handling of the parents’ problem creates a space of security within which new ways of thinking, not only about each parent’s relationship to the perturbed infant, but also about their relationship with one another and with the significant figures of their personal past, can for the first time come into existence. As the author puts it, she "listens and takes seriously the ‘cries’ of the family as a whole".'

    - Joyce McDougall, International Review of Psycho-Analysis

    'As a family doctor I need to be able to offer realistic and helpful advice to distressed parents. This book has it all. Written with real authority, Through the Night is an essential guide to understanding the basis of sleep problems. Dilys Daws’ depth and range of experience make her uniquely qualified to help all parents. At last her wisdom can be shared, bringing calm to shattered nerves. Everyone can benefit from the simple, often dramatic, exposure to sleep problems so brilliantly revealed in this penetrating and absorbing résumé of many years’ commitment to parents and infants. Unequalled, unrivalled and unsurpassed, this book stands alone as a masterpiece in its field.'

    - Dr Roy Macgregor, GP, presenter of ITB’s The Full Treatment and family doctor appearing regularly on Sky TB and ITN