1st Edition

The Baby and the Couple Understanding and treating young families

    212 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    212 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Baby and the Couple provides an insider’s view on how infant communication develops in the context of the family and how parents either work together as a team or struggle in the process. The authors present vignettes from everyday life as well as case studies from a longitudinal research project of infants and their parents interacting together in the Lausanne Trilogue Play (LTP), an assessment tool for very young families.

    Divided into three parts, the book focuses not only on the parents, but also on the infant’s contribution to the family.  Part 1 presents a case study of Lucas and his family, from infancy to age 5. With each chapter we see how, in the context of their families, infants learn to communicate with more than one person at a time. Part 2 explores how infants cope when their parents struggle to work together – excluding, competing or only connecting through their child. The authors follow several case examples from infancy through to early childhood to illustrate various forms of problematic co-parenting, along with the infant’s derailed trajectory at different ages and stages. In Part 3, prevention and intervention models based on the LTP are presented. In addition to an overview of these programs, chapters are devoted to the Developmental Systems Consultation, which combines use of the LTP and video feedback, and a new model, Reflective Family Play, which allows whole families to engage in treatment.

    The Baby and the Couple is a vital resource for professionals working in the fields of infant and preschool mental health including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists and educators, as well as researchers.

    Section 1: Growing Up with Cohesive Coparenting. Section 2: Growing up with Non-Cohesive Coparenting. Section 3: Clinical Applications of the LTP Paradigm.


    Elisabeth Fivaz-Depeursinge is a former professor of clinical ethology at the University of Lausanne School of Medicine, where she was president of the Centre for Family Studies and head of its research department. She was a practicing child analyst and family therapist before moving into clinical research.

    Diane A. Philipp is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto Medical School and a member of the faculty at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, where she is part of the infant and preschool assessment and treatment team.

    ‘This extraordinary, groundbreaking book by Fivaz and Philipp updates and expands the seminal studies of The Primary Triangle, published in 1999. Through fascinating detailed illustrations of volunteer and clinical families, following several of them for at least 5 years, they document the impact on the baby of different styles of co-parenting. Writing in a nonpathologizing, engaging tone, their description of the research brings the babies and their parents to life. This book serves as an invaluable aid to clinicians working with children and families, but also for those working with adult patients. Awareness of the impact subtle family patterns, offers clinicians and their patients a broader and more balanced view of their developmental experience.’ - Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D., Founding Faculty, Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity.

    ‘The authors of this book reaffirm the capacity for triangular communication between infants and parents established by their previous research. They move on then to describe a range of interactive patterns, drawn both from families that are progressing well and families where the patterns are problematic. The authors use detailed case examples to bring realistic images of young families, as we see them at home and in shopping malls; so relevant for understanding that development and change occur in the context of interactive systems, rather than purely within the individual. This book alerts and guides clinicians to innovative opportunities in assessment and intervention during the early stages of family development and should be widely read and applied.’ - Salvador Minuchin, MD; Family Therapist, Author and Former Director, Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic and Patricia Minuchin, PhD; Developmental Psychologist and Professor (ret.), Temple University