1st Edition

Psychodynamic Interventions in Pregnancy and Infancy Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives

By Björn Salomonsson Copyright 2018
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    Psychodynamic Interventions in Pregnancy and Infancy builds on Björn Salomonsson’s experiences as a psychoanalytic consultant working with parents and their babies. Emotional problems during the perinatal stages can arise and be observed and addressed by a skilled midwife, nurse or health visitor.

    Salomonsson has developed a method combining nurse supervision and therapeutic consultations which has lowered the thresholds for parents to come and talk with him. The brief consultations concern pregnant women, mother and baby, husband and wife, toddler and parent. The theoretical framework is psychoanalytic, but the mode of work is eclectic and adapted to the family’s situation and its members’ motivation. This book details such work, which can be applied globally; perinatal psychotherapy integrated with ordinary medical health care. It also explains how psychotherapy can be made more accessible to a larger population.

    Via detailed case presentations, the author takes the reader through pregnancy, childbirth and the first few years of life. He also brings in research studies emphasizing the importance of early interventions, with the aim of providing therapists with arguments for such work in everyday family health care. To further substantiate such arguments, the book ends with theoretical chapters and, finally, the author’s vision of the future of a perinatal health care that integrates medical and psychological perspectives.

    Psychodynamic Interventions in Pregnancy and Infancy will appeal to all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists working in this area, as well as clinical psychologists, clinical social workers and medical personnel working with parents and infants.



    Chapter 1. In the beginning

    Chapter 2. The psychology of pregnancy

    Chapter 3. Circumventing primary maternal preoccupation

    Chapter 4. Delivery trauma and the maternal introject

    Chapter 5. Therapeutic technique in perinatal consultations

    Chapter 6. The external frame at the Child Health Centre

    Chapter 7 Supervising nurses at the Child Health Centre

    Chapter 8. The internal frame at the Child Health Centre

    Chapter 9. From panic to pleasure. Therapy with Debbie and Mae

    Chapter 10. Parent-infant psychotherapy: a review of clinical methods

    Chapter 11. Parent-infant psychotherapy: RCTs and follow-up studies

    Chapter 12: Brief interventions with parental couples - I

    Chapter 13: Brief interventions with parental couples – II

    Chapter 14. Extending the field to therapy with toddlers and parents


    Chapter 15. A baby’s mind: empirical observation versus speculative theorizing

    Chapter 16. Naming the nameless: on anxiety in babies – I: Freud

    Chapter 17. Naming the nameless: on anxiety in babies – II: After Freud

    Chapter 18. Babies and their defences

    Chapter 19. Metaphors in parent-infant therapy

    Chapter 20. A vision for the future


    Björn Salomonsson, MD, is a psychiatrist and training and child psychoanalyst in Stockholm. His research at the Karolinska Institute concerns parent--infant psychoanalytic treatment and psychodynamic consultations at Child Health Centres, as well as the development of clinical practice and theory of such treatments. He is an internationally renowned lecturer on these and other topics in the field of psychoanalytic therapy.

    "Some books do make a difference, and this is one of them. With knowledge and compassion, Salomonsson addresses how to help troubled parents and infants. The theoretical framework is psychoanalytic, integrated with research findings from various fields that may explain emotional states. He creates a comprehensive theory about the unique characteristics of the perinatal period, and provides rich clinical examples from work with mothers, fathers and babies, from pregnancy and through early infancy to toddlerhood. He also discusses how the external world and the therapist’s internal world impact therapeutic work. These are complex issues, but Salomonsson writes in a way that draws the reader in to join him, his mentors and his patients in their explorations."

    Tessa Baradon, Consultant, Anna Freud Centre, London; Visiting Adjunct Professor, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

    "Björn Salomonsson’s excellent book is at the crossroads of four disciplines: neurosciences, obstetrics, neonatology and psychoanalysis. Through significant clinical examples, it deepens the understanding of the emotional turmoil raised by an infant’s birth, and simultaneously proposes precise and elaborate theoretical developments for investigation in this new field. It also describes in detail how a psychotherapist should find his/her place in every unit of neonatology, both to teach the health care team and to help the families with their newborn."

    Florence Guignard, Training analyst of the Paris Society and Past President of the COCAP/IPA.

    "The undeniable benefit of early psychotherapeutic interventions for infants and parents has come as a surprise to us all. Björn Salomonsson takes us on a riveting journey into the depths of his unique therapeutic work with babies and parents, beginning in the prenatal period and moving to the early postnatal development. He presents an astutely designed panoply of rich case reports and deep insights into psychoanalytic thinking against a sound backdrop of empirical research. With conceptual clarity and coherence, he bridges the clinical and scientific arenas, offering an excellent foundation both for therapeutic work and future research efforts."

    Kai von Klitzing, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, President of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH).

    "A masterful, much needed and highly readable exposition of this flourishing field. The author’s compelling clinical vignettes, that include his own emotional and counter-transference exchanges, bring to life his helpful formulations that bring forward new clinical knowledge and research. The book not only builds on his own consulting experiences in a Swedish health care context, but reviews work in other contexts, including clinical trials there and elsewhere. Wonderfully, the book also offers links to couples and family work as psychoanalysis is increasingly recognized as a two-person and relational psychology."

    Robert N. Emde, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado; Honorary President, World Association of Infant Mental Health. 

    "The tone of the book is conversational and one has the impression of being in a multidisciplinary team meeting where clinical findings, research and different treatment approaches are being presented and critically discussed with the patients’ needs very much in mind. It evidences Salomonsson’s impressive capacity to communicate complex ideas in an accessible way. The dialogue between theory and clinical content allows the reader to initially engage with very interesting clinical vignettes and to have an experience of what might be going on between mother and baby before theoretical concepts are introduced."

    Shirley B. Hiscock, British Psychoanalytic Council. To read this review in full, please see the following: Hiscock, S. (2021) Psychodynamic Interventions in Pregnancy and Infancy, Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives, by Bjorn Salomonsson, London and New York, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2018, 296 pp., £32 (paperback), ISBN: 978-0-8153-5905-0. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 102:831-832