1st Edition

The Emotional Experience of Adoption A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Edited By Debbie Hindle, Graham Shulman Copyright 2008
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    300 Pages
    by Routledge

    Adoption is an extremely complex and emotionally demanding process for all those involved. This book explores the emotional experience of adoption from a psychoanalytic perspective, and demonstrates how psychoanalytic understanding and treatment can contribute to thinking about and working with adopted children and their families.

    Drawing on psychoanalytic, attachment and child development theory, and detailed in-depth clinical case discussion, The Emotional Experience of Adoption explores issues such as:

    • the emotional experience of children placed for adoption, and how this both shapes and is shaped by unconscious processes in the child’s inner world
    • how psychoanalytic child psychotherapy can help as a distinctive source of understanding and as a treatment for children who are either in the process of being adopted or already adopted
    • how such understanding can inform planning and decision making amongst professionals and carers.

    The Emotional Experience of Adoption explains and accounts for the emotional and psychological complexities involved for child, parents and professionals in adoption. It will be of interest and relevance to anyone involved at a personal level in the adoption process or professionals working in the fields of adoption, social work, child mental health, foster care and family support.

    1. Creating a placement for children: opening minds and shutting doors?, John Simmonds 2. Talking about relationships and thinking about development: a psychoanalytic perspective, Robin Balbernie 3. Psychoanalytic thinking about the adoption process, Robert Fleming 4. The mermaid: moving towards reality after trauma, Caroline Case 5. On being dropped and picked up: adopted children and their internal objects, Judith Edwards 6. The emotional tasks of moving from fostering to adoption: transitions, attachment, separation and loss, Monica Lanyado 7. Just pretend, Francesca Calvocoressi 8. Becoming a ‘creative couple’, Molly Ludlam 9. Becoming a baby: discovering dependency in the context of a family, Ros Wass 10. Loss and recovery and adoption: a child’s perspective, Debbie Hindle 11. Some Oedipal problems in work with adopted children and their parents, Pamela Bartram 12. The Lionocerous: an adopted boy’s struggle to find himself, Elaine McAllister 13. A five year old’s dilemmas and struggles with belonging, Savi McKenzie- Smith 14. The forever family and the ghosts of the dispossessed, Jenny Sprince 15. Conclusion


    Part I: Setting the Scene  1. Developing a curiosity about adoption: a psychoanalytic perspective, John Simmonds  2. Why is early development important?, Sally Wassell  3. Understanding an adopted child: a child psychotherapist’s perspective, Lisa Miller  Part II: Unconscious Dynamics in Systems and Networks  4. Multiple families in mind, Margaret Rustin  5. Enabling effective support: secondary traumatic stress and adoptive families, Kate Cairns  6. The network around adoption: the forever family and the ghosts of the dispossessed, Jenny Sprince  Part III: Primitive States of Mind and their Impact on Relationships  7. The mermaid: moving towards reality after trauma, Caroline Case  8. On being dropped and picked up: the plight of some late-adopted children, Judith Edwards  Part IV: Belonging and Becoming: Transitions  9. Playing out, not acting out: the development of the capacity to play in the therapy of children who are ‘in transition’ from fostering to adoption, Monica Lanyado  10. Just pretend: the importance of symbolic play and its interpretation in intensive psychotherapy with a four year-old adopted boy, Francesca Calvocoressi  11. The longing to become a family: support for the parental couple, Molly Ludlam  12. Shared reflections on parallel collaborative work with adoptive families, Francesca Calvocoressi and Molly Ludlam  Part V: Being Part of a Family: Oedipal Issues  13. Loss, recovery and adoption: a child’s perspective, Debbie Hindle  14. Oedipal difficulties in the triangular relationship between the parents, the child and the child psychotherapist, Pamela Bartram  Part VI: Adoption and Adolescence: the Question of Identity  15. Deprivation and development: the predicament of an adopted adolescent in the search for identity, Tessa Dalley and Valli Kohon  16. Idealisation and overvalued ideas, Sheila Spensley  Further Reflections  17. A cautionary tale of adoption: fictional lives and living fictions, Graham Shulman  Final Thoughts


    Debbie Hindle is Head of the Clinical Training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at the Scottish Institute of Human Relations, and also works in the Looked After and Accommodated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Glasgow.

    Graham Shulman is a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist who currently works in NHS Lanarkshire. He was until recently Senior Tutor for the Clinical Training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Organizing Tutor for the Therapeutic Skills with Children and Young People Course at the Scottish Institute of Human Relations.  He is Joint Editor of the Journal of Child Psychotherapy.

    'An interesting, informative and enjoyable read, the volume conveys core psychoanalytic ideas relevant to adoption and insights into therapeutic processes in a very vivid and accessible fashion.' - Malcolm Hill, Glasgow School of Social Work, UK

    'Focusing on the trauma experienced by most adopted children prior to being taken into care, this book conveys the damage these children have sustained and the impact of this on their new family and the professionals involved. Psychoanalytic ideas both help understanding and provide a means of amelioration by offering treatment possibilities and a consultation framework. An accessible but painful book to read.' - Judith Trowell, West Midlands Care Service Improvement Partnership and University of Worcester, UK