The Traumatised Mother’s Inner World
Saturday 15 June 2019 - London
Implications for the Child's Development
This seminar aims to elaborate the significance of the mother’s emotional capacities on her baby’s forming mental health. Our two presenters will consider how far attachment, systemic and psychoanalytic theories can help us to support psychologically fragile mothers so they can grow in their capacity and confidence in offering maternal love. In particular, we will focus on women who have experienced serious and ongoing emotional adversity in life. Problematic emotional states can suddenly emerge on giving birth, sometimes fulfilling psychiatric diagnostic criteria such as a “personality disorder” but often in women who do not have any previously diagnosed emotional condition.READ MORE...
Such a new mother can have significant difficulties managing the constant demands that caring for her baby makes on her already depleted emotional resources. Here, unconscious defensive processes are always active and can render a baby at risk.
This is a very extensive problem in our society and as practitioners we can make an important contribution by developing our understanding of how and why the experience of becoming a mother can lead to a sudden deterioration in a woman’s mental health. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect and discuss clinical cases and to gain a better understanding of how theory informs therapeutic formulation and intervention.
Registration and coffee
Dr Gwen Adshead – The mother in mind: Disorganised attachment and maternal mental health
The maternal state of mind is a major influence on how babies develop their first sense of self and first relational skills. Much attention has been paid to maternal depression, anxiety and psychosis in the postnatal period but less to maternal personality dysfunction. In this talk, Gwen will discuss maternal personality disorder and how it can be understood as unresolved and disorganised attachment distress. She will review some published literature on attachment and postnatal disturbances, as well as maternal personality dysfunction. She will discuss what interventions might be helpful based on current evidence. We will ask how common is maternal personality disorder? What are its effects? How is it affected by the maternal role? What is the relevance of attachment theory and concepts such as unresolved or disorganised attachment?
Dr Gwen Adshead – Live Supervision
Dr Amanda Jones – When a mother’s capacity to care for her baby is impaired
Basing this presentation on her vast experience of working with mothers who struggle to care for their children, Amanda will explore case material that illustrates how to intervene and help clients who are finding it hard to care for their baby. She will talk about how the mother’s state of mind can become disturbed by the maternal role, what this can mean for her baby. Using the term serious parental illness, she will focus on how a mother’s caregiving capacities can be affected by the chronic activation of unconscious defensive processes
Discussion with our speakers