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A vivid description of a baby’s first year of life.
Original edition 1990 (Clunie Press). New edition 2021 with foreword by Jeanne Magagna.
Paperback, e-Book, Print & e-Book
Child & Adolescent, Psychoanalytic Theory
‘Manuel Pérez-Sánchez has presented a very vivid description of a baby’s first year of life. Direct observational material is lent understanding through the combination of his and Esther Bick’s thoughts regarding the weekly infant observations. We read how the baby progresses from a state of unintegration in which the anxious baby requires the containing presence of the parents and uses primitive bodily methods of providing protection against anxiety in their absence. We then move to a more comfortable stage in which the baby has introjected the parents as providing a sense of internal security. We see how each step in the baby’s development involves a reciprocal change in the parents’ relationship to the baby.
Certainly through this book teachers and parents will be able to lend greater compassion and understanding to children’s emotional need for the parents’ attentive presence. Likewise, understanding the ideas presented in this book fosters greater appreciation of children’s restless lack of concentration and their meaningful non-verbal communication through gestures and play activities.
I unreservedly recommend this book as essential reading for those undertaking infant observation as well as for those who need to or simply wish to have a deeper understanding of infant mental life.’
Jeanne Magagna, Tavistock Clinic trained child, family and adult psychotherapist; editor of The Silent Child: Communication without Words
PREFACE by Jeanne Magagna
1. One month: the baby’s state of unintegration and primary functions of the mother
2. Two months: identity changes in the parents
3. Three months: the holding function in relation to the processes of introjection and projection (the ‘presence’ of the object)
4. Four months: regression-projection (how the baby develops real strength)
5. Five months: towards integration
6. Six months: reactions to situations involving change, loss and search for the object
7. Seven months: the personality of the baby – constitutional and environmental factors
8. Eight months: dependence on the external object
9. Nine months: the recreation of the original object – the development of the ego and its connection with reality
10. Ten months: baby parts of the adult personality; further progress made by the baby
11. Eleven months: the acquisition of mobility (crawling) and object relationships
12. Twelve months: the holding function at the end of the first year
Manuel Pérez-Sánchez, psychiatrist, teaching analyst for the IPA, and student of Esther Bick, wrote Baby Observation in 1981. After this publication, he spent his daily working life refining the theoretical understanding and transmitting the clinical contribution of infant observation according to the Bick method. He has given conferences and seminars in various countries of Latin America and Europe, and taught regular courses at the Fundación San Pablo University in Madrid and in Portugal. With other colleagues he founded the Asociación Bick España, Dr Pérez-Sánchez has published on baby observation in magazines, books, conferences, seminars, and international congresses that he has organized or participated in. Among his books, in addition to Baby Observation (also published in Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Portuguese), are The Observation of Children (in Spanish and Portuguese), The Everyday and the Unconscious and The Bick Method (in collaboration with Dr Hafsa Chbani). The most recent is Learning from the Baby: Psychoanalytic Philosopher, which includes all his ideas and concepts on the better understanding of the observation of babies, such as original unity, autonomy, function and state, and astonished imagination. Dr Pérez-Sanchez has also been exploring themes relating to ethics and the skin, parenting, and fraternity; and lately, using the Mahabharata, the thinking of Bion.
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