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The Mother/Infant, Analyst/Analysand Pair: Moving from Theoretical Constructs to Moments of Not Knowing

Mercedes Muhlegg


When I learned about infant observation as a required component of analytictraining, I thought about prominent object-relations frameworks thathave developed since Freud's structural theories. An emphasis on the primacyof the early mother-infant relationship meant that we could obtainexperiential knowledge about the development of the infant from soon after birth, through the first year of its life. I thought about the relevance ofWinnicott's formulations about primary maternal preoccupation and theimportance of the holding environment. I would be witnessing the infant'sprimitive communications and anxieties in the form of normal projectiveidentifications, following Kleinian theories, and, building on her model,Bion's container-contained analogy and his concept of reverie.

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