Infant observation research: What have we learned so far?

  • Rustin M
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Abstract

This paper reviews published literature in the field of psychoanalytic infant observation research, and asks, how much has so far been achieved by this work? It identifies themes, theoretical ideas, techniques, and applications which have been explored and developed in this literature. How far has the distinctive method which characterises naturalistic infant observation proved capable of generating new hypotheses, or locating hitherto unrecognised phenomena in the field of mother-infant relationships, and family dynamics more generally? The writer identifies a number of areas where significant development has taken place. His view is that a greater measure of reflection and review of research publication in infant observation and indeed child psychotherapy, would strengthen these research programmes. It would also support writing being increasingly undertaken for doctoral and masters programmes. Keywords: Clinical research methods, containment, epistemology and ontology, infant observation

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Authors

  • Michael Rustin

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