Review of “A Four-and-a-Half Year Old Boy Who Had Dropped Out of the World – The Most Amazing Analytic Experience I Have Ever Had” Presented by Dr. Martin Silverman

In the first phase of treatment, all of our patients interview us. They are checking to be sure that we will be helpful and not harmful. Patience, the willingness to wait, and curiosity about what is growing beneath the surface of things are, perhaps, two of a psychoanalyst’s most important tools. In intensive psychotherapeutic treatment the analyst needs the capacity to not know, to contain the feeling of not knowing, and to allow the mind to drift and wander. It’s all there in the memory banks, but to be effective in finding it, the analyst must be comfortable living with … Continue reading Review of “A Four-and-a-Half Year Old Boy Who Had Dropped Out of the World – The Most Amazing Analytic Experience I Have Ever Had” Presented by Dr. Martin Silverman

Mindreading and Mindblindness

Mentalization is the uniquely human (or so we think) ability to know one’s own mind and also the minds of others. The ability to mentalize develops in early childhood, consolidating at around 5 to 7 years old. It is the faculty of mind that allows us to understand that we have intentions, wishes, desires, feelings, hopes, knowledge, and plans, that others do as well. Moreover, once we have achieved mentalization, we also know that minds are opaque; in other words, we can guess what’s in someone else’s mind, but we can’t know it for sure unless we ask. The theory of … Continue reading Mindreading and Mindblindness

Selma Fraiberg, born March 8, 1918

Selma Fraiberg, social worker and psychoanalyst, would have been 100 on March 8. I still give her book, The Magic Years, to new parents as it remains, even after nearly 60 years, a rich and thoughtful exploration of the inner lives of infants and young children. Based in a deep understanding of child development rooted in psychoanalytic theory, Fraiberg, always empathic with the experience of parents, uncovers the meaning of early childhood behavior and offers parents a framework for civilizing their children in healthy and nourishing ways. Fraiberg is also remembered for her seminal article, “Ghosts in the Nursery,” which has been … Continue reading Selma Fraiberg, born March 8, 1918

Thoughts on The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book

Beatrice Beebe has been observing mothers and infants for many years. She reveals much of what she has learned in language appropriate for parents, teachers, and clinicians alike in her 2016 book, The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book.  Beebe has analyzed hours of split screen video in which mothers interact with their 4 month old infants. One of the most astonishing findings from the microanalysis of these videos is: These parent-infant communication patterns predict infant attachment patterns at one year, a key milestone in the infant’s development…An infant’s attachment pattern at one year predicts many aspects of the child’s development, including school … Continue reading Thoughts on The Mother-Infant Interaction Picture Book

Is there such a thing as too much play?

The debate about how much play is enough  is one carried out in the popular press, where experts and non-experts alike weigh in. Writing for the New York Times Magazine, Melanie Thernstrom reflects on the question from a personal point of view when her daughter is invited to the home of a friend from preschool, whose father has made a project out of being a free range, non-helicopter parent. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play?”

Drinking, Play & Identity

I have written in an earlier post about how depriving human beings of opportunities and spaces for play leads to increased stress, anxiety and depression.

According to Ashton Katherine Carrick, a senior at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, stress that begins in high school, with the imperative to spend all available time preparing a college resume, follows young adults right into college. In a New York Times op-ed piece , reflecting on her experience as a college student, Carrick observes that stress is the cause of drinking to blackout. Continue reading “Drinking, Play & Identity”

Play, Identity, & Mental Health

Can we become who we are without play or is play is essential for the formation and development of human identity?  I am particularly interested in how play opens up a space for creativity, a space in which we can potentially transform our identities.  If we create ourselves, and play nurtures creativity, how might our identities emerge from a self-directed engagement with play? Continue reading “Play, Identity, & Mental Health”