Relational Trauma in Infancy : Psychoanalytic, Attachment and Neuropsychological Contributions to Parent-Infant Psychotherapy book cover
1st Edition

Relational Trauma in Infancy
Psychoanalytic, Attachment and Neuropsychological Contributions to Parent-Infant Psychotherapy

Edited By

Tessa Baradon

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ISBN 9780415473750
Published February 1, 2010 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

This book presents an interdisciplinary discussion between researchers and clinicians about trauma in the relationship between infants and their parents. It makes an innovative contribution to the field of infant mental health in bringing together previously separated paradigms of relational trauma from psychoanalysis, attachment and the neurosciences.

With contributions from a range of experts, areas of discussion include:

  • intergenerational transmission of relational trauma and earliest intervention
  • the nature of the traumatising encounter between parent and infant
  • the therapeutic possibilities of parent-infant psychotherapy in changing the trajectory of transmitted trauma
  • training and supporting professionals working with traumatised parents and infants.

Relational Trauma in Infancy will be of particular interest to trainee and qualified child and adult psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, child and adult psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, health care professionals and social workers.

Table of Contents

Mayes, Introduction. Baradon, Preface. Pretorius, Research into Genetic and Environmental Contributors to the Intergenerational Transmission of Disorganised Attachment Relationships. Schore, Relational Trauma and the Developing Right Brain: The Neurobiology of Broken Attachment Bonds. Woodhead, Trauma in the Crucible of the Parent-Infant Relationship: The Baby's Experience. Joyce, Infantile Psychosomatic Integrity and Maternal Trauma. Jones, The Traumatic Sequalae of Pathological Defensive Processes in Parent-Infant Relationships. James, Newbury, Infants, Relational Trauma and Homelessness: Therapeutic Possibilities Through a Hostel Baby Clinic Group and its Research Evaluations. Tomas-Merrills, Chakraborty, Babies Behind Bars: Working with Relational Trauma in Prison. Dalley, Containment of Trauma – Working in the Community. Baradon, Discussion: And What About Fathers? Sleed, Fonagy, Understanding Disruptions in the Parent-Infant Relationship: Are Words Enough? Baradon, Bronfman, Contributions and Divergences between Clinical Work and Research Tools Relating to Trauma and Disorganisation. Broughton, Measuring the Parent-Infant Relationship. Steele, Steele, Murphy, The Adult Attachment Interview and Relational Trauma: Implications for Parent-Infant Psychotherapy. Baradon, Epilogue: ‘Ghosts and Angels in the Nursery’ – Windows of Opportunity and Remaining Vulnerability.  

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Tessa Baradon developed and manages the Parent-Infant Project at The Anna Freud Centre. She is a practising child psychotherapist and supervisor and writes and lectures on applied psychoanalysis and parent-infant psychotherapy.


"For all those trying to address serious difficulties in early parent-infant relationships, this book will be an invaluable and timely resource. It is a work of impressive contemporary scholarship and brings a wealth of clinical experience and authority to this vitally important arena." - Peter Toolan, The Maudsley Perinatal Psychotherapy Service, London, UK 

"Sensitive and creative research and clinical papers contribute to an interdisciplinary exploration of the biological, psychological and social consequences of trauma on infant development and to extensive consideration of various modes of intervention, making this volume of value to both developmental investigators and clinicians" - Sidney J. Blatt, Professor, Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale University, USA, and author of Polarities of Experience: Relatedness and Self-definition in Personality Development, Psychopathology and the Therapeutic Process 

"In an era characterized by marked progress in our understanding of the neurobiological substrates and processes underpinning parenting, early development and the sequelae of early adversity in particular, clinicians working with infants and parents all the more feel the need for the translation of these basic research findings to their clinical practice. This book provides a superb attempt to bridge this gap. It provides a compelling case for the value of a relational approach to the study and treatment of parents and infants struggling with the consequences of early adversity, and in breaking the vicious cycle of trauma across the generations. This book goes far beyond simple models of trauma and their impact on later development. It effectively paints a much more complex picture of the consequences of early disruptive experiences, and their effects on child development and parenting. Central in this volume is the focus on the mind of mothers and infants, that is how mothers and infants co-create their internal and external worlds, often in maladaptive and distorted ways, and how this co-creation can be changed as a result of parent-infant interventions. As yet few carefully documented psychodynamic case studies are available in this context. This volume, written by leading experts in the field of parent-infant therapy, therefore promises to be a leading source of information for both clinicians and researchers involved in parent-infant work for years to come." - Patrick Luyten, Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium

"The book makes for a good scholarly read and reflects the high standard of theoretical and clinical work of the Anna Freud Centre." - Hessel Willemsen, Journal of Analytical Psychology, Volume 56, 2011