Scientific article
Open access

Exploration of maternal representations during psychotherapy focused on parenthood from pregnancy to one year postpartum

Published inThe international journal of psycho-analysis, vol. 104, no. 1, p. 46-68
First online date2023-02-17

Maternal representations play a key role in intrapsychic conflicts relating to accession to parenthood and in the formation of the mother-baby bond. Around the birth of the child, the shadows of past objects are cast on the baby and the parent's self-image. Mother-baby psychoanalytic psychotherapy helps us to understand internal conflicts that tend to interfere with the mother's representations of her child or of herself as a mother, as well as aiming to reduce the risk of difficulties for the child. Through a clinical case, this article explores the development of maternal representations in a course of parenthood-centred psychotherapy that begins during pregnancy and ends 11 months after the baby's birth. The psychic change carried out by the mother frees the mother-baby bond from the projections of the past. Excerpts from clinical sessions illustrate mother-baby interactions during the session, the projection of the mother's internal objects on to the baby, and the elaboration and reintrojection of the mother's internal conflicts. Changes in the mother's representations were measured both qualitatively and quantitatively using the 'R' interview, which allows various dimensions of these representations to be measured on a Likert scale.

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Projection
  • Psychotherapy
  • International Psychoanalytical Association - [4526]
Citation (ISO format)
LLAIRÒ, Antonia, GOMÀ, Marta, NANZER, Nathalie. Exploration of maternal representations during psychotherapy focused on parenthood from pregnancy to one year postpartum. In: The international journal of psycho-analysis, 2023, vol. 104, n° 1, p. 46–68. doi: 10.1080/00207578.2022.2149404
Main files (2)
Article (Accepted version)
Article (Published version) - full text with appendixes
ISSN of the journal0020-7578

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