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203 Theories of Development I: Infancy – 6 seminars

Seminar Leader: Elizabeth Tuters MSW, RSW, FIPA and Lindsay Barton MA, RP, Post Academic TIP

Course Description

This course explores how understanding infant development and the emergence of foundational psychic structures is essential to working with adults in psychoanalysis. Ideas on infantile psychosexuality, object relations, intergenerational transmission, attachment, and intersubjectivity will be presented to facilitate a practical and theoretical understanding of this formative developmental period. Throughout each seminar, we will examine the complexity of the developing baby in the context of the internal developmental thrust in conjunction with parental and environmental influence. From there, we can begin to see that understanding infant psychic development and the establishment of early relationship patterns is crucial to understanding the internal workings of the analysand and adult relational patterns in the transference. In coming to understand the clinical and observed baby we draw on analytic work with adults, children and parent-infant psychotherapy, as well as the findings of Infant observation studies and infant research which show how the infant self emerges out of reciprocal regulation and recognition processes within the primary caregiving relationship.

Learning Objectives

Candidates will:

  1. Obtain an understanding of infantile psychosexual development in the formation of internal psychic structure in the context of early dependency relationships (1.1).
  2. Learn about the significance of the maternal function in facilitating both a reliable dependency and the gradual emergence of a differentiated sense of self (1.1, 1.2).
  3. Explore the developmental impact of the early stages of orality and early incorporation, as embodied in the feeding and weaning processes, on the development of the infant mind, object relational system, and defensive structures (1.1, 1.2).
  4. Review the findings of infant observation studies that shed light on primitive object relational dynamics and their transferential implications (1.1, 1.2).
  5. Obtain an understanding of the impact of the intergenerational transmission of trauma and the narcissistic links between generations with its implications for point of entry in analytic interventions (1.1, 1.2, 4.2).
  6. Learn first hand about the significance of attachment theory to our understanding of the experience of separation and loss in the young child (1.1, 1.2).
  7. Learn how to use our understanding of early relational dynamics in both facilitating the establishment of a therapeutic alliance and reading specific transference-countertransference issues (1.1, 1.2, 4,2).

Infantile Psychosexual Development

Required Readings

Freud, S. (1905d). Infantile Sexuality. In The Three essays on the theory of Sexuality. SE, 7: 173-206. (selected sections)

Meltzer, D. (1973). The Theory of Psychosexual Development. In Sexual States of Mind. Clunie Press: Uk. p. 13-28.


Kristeva, J. (2001). The Priority and Interiority of the Other and the Bond: the Baby is Born with his Objects. In Melanie Klein. Columbia University Press. p. 57–81.

Widlocher, Daniel (Ed) (2001) Primary Love and Infantile Sexuality: An Eternal Debate. (1-35) Infantile Sexuality and Attachment. Other Press, NY.

Maternal Function: An attempt to meet infant need

Required Readings

Joan Raphael-Leff (1993) Pregnancy: The Inside Story. Sheldon Press; London p 6-25.

Moskowitz, S. (2011) Primary Maternal Preoccupation Disrupted by Trauma and Loss: Early Years of the Project. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 10:229–237.


Anzieu-Premmereur, C. ((2015). The Skin-Ego: Dyadic Sensuality, Trauma in Infancy, and Adult Narcissistic Issues. Psychoanal. Rev., 102(5): 659-681.

Bick, E. (1967) The Experience of the Skin in Early Object Relations, International Journal of the Psychoanalysis 49, 1968 : 484-486.

Winnicott, D.W (1956) Primary maternal preoccupation Through paediatrics to psychoanalysis London: Hogarth Press : 300-305.

Likierman, M.(1988). Maternal Love and Positive Projective Identification. J. Child Psychother., 14(2):29-46

The Clinical Infant: Orality

Required Readings

Klein, M. (1936). Weaning in Melanie Klein: Love, Guilt and Reparation and other Works. Hogarth Press (1975), pp 290-305.

Perelberg, R. J. (2015). On excess, trauma and helplessness: Repetition and Transformations, 96: IJPA, 1453-1476.


Houzel, D. (2004). The Psychoanalysis of Infantile Autism. J. Child Psychotherapy 30(2):225-235.

The Observed Infant: What is there to Observe? What do we learn from Observing?

Required Readings

Rhode, M. (1997) Psychosomatic integrations: eye and mouth in infant observation. In S. Reid (Ed). Developments in Infant Observation: The Tavistock Model, p. 140-156.

Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Eleven: A Baby Observation: The Absent Object 1 (1980). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 163-169


Bick, E. (1964) Infant Observation in Psychoanalytic Training, IJPA, 45:558-566.

Perelberg, R. J. (2008) ‘What can you possibly learn from babies?’ – on psychoanalytic constructions of primal infants. In Time, Space and Phantasy. Routledge:  NY.  (p. 163-180).

Reid, S. Ed. (1997) Introduction: psychoanalytic infant observation 1-15, in Developments in Infant Observation. Routledge, UK.

Sternberg, Janine. “Why the experience of infant observation lies at the heart of psychoanalytic psychotherapy training” 44-54, in Urwin, C. and Sternberg J. ((2013) Infant Observation and Research: Emotional Processes in Everyday Lives. London: Routledge: UK.

Intergenerational transmission

This seminar looks at the transmission of psychic experience from parent to child.  Synthesizing aspects of object relational and attachment theory, alongside the theory of transgenerational transmission of trauma, the readings explore the unconscious impact of unresolved (and unrepresented) parental trauma on the infant/child’s emerging psychic structure and identity.

Required Readings

Anzieu-Premmereur, C. (2017) Attacks on linking in parents of young disturbed children. in Bronstein, C. and O’Shaughnessy, E. (Eds.) Attacks on Linking Revisited. Karnac: London, 107-126.

Adelson & Shapiro ( 1980) Ghosts in the Nursery: A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired Infant-Mother Relationships. 100-136. In Clinical Studies in Infant Mental Health by Selma Fraiberg, Basic Books, NY


Tuters, E., Doulis, S., Yabsley S. ( 2011) “ Challenges Working with Infants and Their Families: Symptoms and Meanings- Two Approaches of Infant-Parent Psychotherapy.” IMHJ Vol. 32 (6), 632-649.

Fraiberg, Selma ( 1982) Pathological Defences In Infancy. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Ll.

Faimberg, H. (2005). The Telescoping of Generations: A Genealogy of Alienated Identifications (1981/1985). In Telescoping of Generations: Listening to the Narcissistic Links between Generations. Routledge: London and New York. 4-18.

The application of the findings of attachment theory and the microanalysis of dyadic interactions in clinical practice

The classical film “John”, by James and Joyce Robertson (1971), in collaboration with John Bowlby — one in a series of films about children in brief separation from their parents at 18 months — will be viewed and discussed. The film illustrates the child’s defensive structure and the effect of loss-sadness, anger, protest and despair.

Required Readings

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory Model”, in Fonagy, P. and Target M. (2003) Psychoanalytic Theories: Perspectives from Developmental Psychopathology. Whurr: London. 230-254.

Obegi, J. & Berant, E. (2010) Attachment Theory and Research in Clinical Work with Adults. Guildford: New York.


Bowlby, John (1980), ‘Children’s Responses when Conditions are Unfavorable” in Loss: Sadness and Depression. Volume 3 of Attachment and Loss. Hogarth: London.  320-345.

Ainsworth, Mary. (1982) Attachment: Retrospective and Prospect in Parkes, C.M. and Stevenson-Hinde J. The Place of Attachment in Human Behaviour. Basic Books: New York. 3-30.

Salomonsson, Bjorn (2011) “The Music of Containment Addressing the Participants in Mother-Infant Psychoanalytic Treatment” IMHJ Vol 32 (6), 599-612.

Jacobs,T. Discussions of Forms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Research and Adult Treatment” in Beebe, B., Knoblauch S., Rustin J., Sorter D. (2005) Forms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Research and Adult Treatment. Other:New York.165-191.

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