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Scientific Meeting – Understanding the Origins of Affective Communication: A video presentation with a panel discussion.

Understanding the Origins of Affective Communication

Presenter: Karen Dougherty

Discussants: Elizabeth Tuters and Lindsay Barton

Wednesday, April 10, 2019: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm (no break)

Open to all.

The Film

A new mother is playing with her baby. She touches his face, tap-tap-taps his nose, “Boop!” She sings. “Boop!” Baby’s eyes widen. Limbs flail. He smiles tentatively, chortles, then hiccup-laughs. Mother laughs with him, mirroring his broad gape smile, eyebrows raised in excitement. Suddenly over-stimulated, the baby turns away to calm himself. His mother calmly waits for her baby to come back. When he returns his gaze mother offers a gentle, reassuring smile. The pair reconnects and the duet begins again.

This tender exchange is more than just a lovely moment between mother and baby. Decoded, it carries precious information about how we learn to relate.

The 34-minute documentary entitled “Mother-Infant Communication: The Research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe” introduces viewers to four decades of unique research. Video microanalysis of mother-infant face-to-face play offers unparalleled insight into our earliest relationships and how they shape us. It has become a powerful research, treatment, and training tool. Dr. Beebe’s persuasive findings are the result of forty years of laboratory study involving hundreds of mother-infant subjects, reams of film and video footage, and an army of dedicated graduate students who code every frame of that footage.

The latest findings in the field of Infant Research have helped to deepen our understanding of intimate communication – infant and mother, and patient and analyst. It provides a valuable addition to our therapeutic repertoire as analysts, taking us beyond the classical framework that implies that change in analysis comes primarily from making the unconscious conscious, and providing interpretive insight. Nowadays we have to pay much closer attention to the nuances of affective communication and the un-deciphered messages in it. Otherwise it is like “rowing the boat with only one oar”. It is important to understand the Moment-to-Moment inter-subjective communication, and how it subtly guides each partner in the dyad. Beatrice Beebe helps us to learn about the Micro aspects of communication, rather than the Macro aspects that we usually engage with in communicating with our patients.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation participants will be able:

  1. Understand more clearly the subtle nuances of affective communication.
  2. Understand the “dyadic dance” where each partner plays an equal role in affecting the Moment-to-Moment responses.
  3. Understand the crucial importance of being aware how these early patterns of communication are still operant in us as adults, particularly in the context of doing analytic work.
Karen Dougherty

Karen Dougherty is a Toronto-based Registered Psychotherapist in private practice, a documentary filmmaker, and a television producer and researcher specializing in history and social issues. A fourth year candidate at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, she has a Master’s Degree in English Literature (McGill) and a Master’s in Psychoanalytic Studies (Sheffield).

Elizabeth Tuters MSW, RSW, FIPA

Elizabeth Tuters, MSW, RSW, Dip. TCPP, FIPA, Child/Adult Psychoanalyst in Private Practice. Former Team Leader, Infant Program, Sick Kids Community Mental Health Clinic (formerly the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre), Officer, Board of Directors; Canadian Association for Psychoanalytic Child Therapists, Faculty/Supervisor CICAPP, Faculty TPS&I.

Lindsay Barton MA, RP, CAPCT

Lindsay Barton, MA, RP, CAPCT, Private Practice. Clinical Member Canadian Association for Psychoanalytic Child Therapists, Faculty CICAPP, University of Guelph-Humber (Early Childhood Studies); Candidate at TIP.

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