Exploring the potential usefulness of mother-infant interventions in the infant's first year of life: A systematic literature review with clinical illustrations
Access for AUT students and staff only. AUT network login required.
MetadataShow full metadata
This literature review explores the potential usefulness or otherwise of psychoanalytic interventions in the infant’s first year of life. The method used is a modified systematic literature review, which draws on a range of theory within the psychoanalytic framework to understand this topic. Clinical examples are used to illustrate how problems in the mother-infant relationship can manifest and how psychoanalytic interventions are applied. The literature surveyed has been organised into three main sections, which reflect different aspects of the field. The first section examines literature on the forms that mother-infant intervention has taken. This literature suggests that there are two main schools of thought. One school of thought has focused more on the individual psychotherapeutic needs of the infant, while the other school of thought has focused more on parental problems, which affect the infant’s emotional development. Increasingly however there are attempts to bring together the two schools into an approach, which can accommodate the involvement of both mother and infant. The second section of the literature review examines the theoretical underpinnings of mother-infant intervention. The discussion of relevant theorists in this area shows the development of thinking around the mother-infant relationship through from Klein, Bion to Winnicott. The third section of the literature review includes consideration of research, which has implications for the efficacy of this approach. The little literature, which does exist in this area, suggests that early intervention is effective but it is clear that there is further research needed. Overall, this dissertation explores the growing area of mother-infant intervention and its potential usefulness. While it is recognised that further research is needed to firmly establish its efficacy, it would appear that it may contribute towards symptom relief in the infant as well as promoting positive interactional changes in the mother-infant dyad.