Mother-daughter Plots

avoiding counter-transferrence

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2. avoiding counter-transferrence: “Because the child projects feelings, anxieties, into the person of the analyst, it becomes possible to use feelings evoked in the analyst in the analytic setting as information about the internal state of the child. This needs to be carefully demarcated from the analyst's own child-part which can be powerfully activated in the interaction with the child of the patient, but even here there is the issue of the evocative origin often residing with the patient's communications. If the analyst is not provoked into action in response to the child's projections of situations involving mental pain there is open to him/her the valuable resource of attending to the feelings contained on behalf of the child. It is often immensely relieving to a child to experience a person who can just hold onto projected distress without immediately sending it back or otherwise failing to contain it.  containment

3. containment: “This concept is based upon the intrinsic need for the infant to find a place to put unwanted parts of him/herself-in-distress. Melanie Klein found that the infant can in unconscious phantasy life split off part of itself, as an early and primitive defense mechanism for the protection of the precarious infantile ego threatened with dis-integration, and project these parts of the self together with the associated distress, into an object,- that is to say, an object of perception.”

4. from containment to symbolization: “It is the internalising of this process, time after time, and the subsequent anticipation and utilisation of mother's containing function, that promotes the growth of the child’s own innate capacity to contain and process their own emotions. This strengthens the emergence of the individual's capacity to be receptive to the emotional impact of new experience without being completely disrupted by it.

Containment underlies the development of symbol-formation. It is what makes it possible, because psychologically tolerable, for the infant to keep an experience in mind long enough and in the requisite emotional atmosphere for it to be integrated into his/her current view of self and the world. Ultimately it is the quality of containment experienced in early life that enables us to retain our past knowledge and experience and yet be able to reconstrue these in the light of new experience.

1. Mirror-Role of Mother and Family in Child Development

2. Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena

3. For Reference: “ Playing: A Theoretical Statement”

Mawson, Chris  An Introduction to the Psychoanalytic Play Technique and a Psychoanalytic View of Early Development


  1. Mirror-Role of Mother and Family in Child Development

Main argument: the precursor of the mirror is the mother’s responsive face, in which a baby sees itself.

  1. an infant’s environment: involves the mother’s holding, handling and object-presenting.

  2. What does a baby see when the mother does not respond?

    1. its own creative capacity begins to atrophy;

    2. the baby gets the idea that what is seen is the mother’s face. “So perception takes the place of apperception, perception takes the place of that which might have been the beginning of a significant exchange with the world, a two-way process in which self-enrichment alternates with the discovery of meaning in the world of seen things.”(145)

    3. Prediction: some babies, tantalized by this type of relative maternal failure, study the variable maternal visage in an attempt to predict the mother’s mood. [. . .] predictability is precarious, . . . This brings a threat of chaos, and the baby will organize withdrawl, or will not look except to perceive. . . .

  3. What an average girl sees when studying her face in the mirror – “the mother’s image and the mother can see her and that the mother is en rapport with her.” (146)  There is a difference between seeing falling in love with beauty and falling in love with a real girl.

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