Infant Observation, according to the Esther Bick method, has since long been an appreciated and a most useful tool in the psychotherapist’s training.
Psychoanalytic infant observation is a vital component in the training of psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and clinicians of allied professions. Its usefulness to clinical work is well established worldwide, as it enables clinicians to conceptualise the nonverbal and implicit interactive processes and can prepare psychotherapy trainees and enhance clinicians’ capacity for perceptual and emotional receptivity. Through the training, the observers can develop ’empathic receptivity’, as they unconsciously engage with primitive states of mind, when following the infant’s emotional development within his/her family.
Infant Observation has been a special interest group within the EFPP. A working party was formed in 2004 which extended this interest, organising the first Infant Obs. Workshop (Athens 9-10 Dec. 05), and having a constant presence in all recent EFPP conferences.
The aim of such workshops is to promote space for reflection on the method of Infant Observation and its relevance to our clinical practice, but also to keep in touch with the different training applications and the new developments, for instance, Neurosciences.
Another task of the working party is to facilitate countries or sections that have not yet started trainings in Infant Observation and are planning to do so. At the recent EFPP Conferences, Infant Observation has become an ongoing theme through presentations and workshops. An organizing committee has been formed to set up biannual two-day Infant Observation Workshops (Athens, Pisa, Stockholm, Tallinn) as well as the ongoing workshops at ordinary EFPP-conferences (Prague, Florence, Krakow, Athens, Berlin).
Some issues that will be highlighted:
– The parallel processes between baby – parent – family dynamics and observer – seminar group members –seminar leader – group discussant.
– The phantasies about nourishment and containment in the mother-baby relationship and the teacher-student context.
– Containing infantile anxiety and unconscious phantasies in the group.
– The need and the fear of being observed (baby-observer-members of the seminar group -seminar leader-group discussant.
– Awareness of the seminar group dynamics and their role in facilitating the learning process.
Organizing committee of the efpp infant observation workshops:
Effie Layiou-Lignos (Greece), Simona Nissim (Italy), Piret Visnapuu-Bernadt (Estonia), Monica Jakubowicz(Poland), Anne Okstad and Lise Radøy,(Norway)