Meeting a Brilliant but Quirky Mind: Insights Offered by Infant Research
by Alexandra Murray Harrison, MD
This paper focuses on the “moving along process” toward “moments of meeting” identified in the Boston Process of Change Study Group’s “Something More” paper. Insights from infant research–Tronick’s dynamic description of “match, mismatch, and repair” and Beebe’s model of vocal rhythm coordination–will be used to explore the “moving along process” that can lead to a “moment of meeting”. These theoretical considerations will be illustrated with clinical material from the psychoanalytic treatment of a 3-4 year-old boy. The author suggests that these insights into psychoanalytic process derived from infant observation research are useful to understanding therapeutic change and may in some ways be more helpful than focusing on a specific psychoanalytic theory or technique.
The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 73:1, 240-256, March 2020.
About the Author
Alexandra Murray Harrison, MD is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and on the Faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program at University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Harrison has a private practice in both adult and child psychoanalysis and psychiatry. In the context of visits to orphanages in Central America and India, Dr. Harrison has developed a model for mental health professionals in developed countries to volunteer their consultation services to caregivers of children in care in developing countries in the context of a long term relationship with episodic visits and regular Skype and video contact. Her blog Supporting Child Caregivers gathers important information on parenting and education of children during the pandemic. Listen to Dr. Harrison’s helpful tips about child development and parenting issues in her new podcast The SCC Pod.The latest episode describes how nonverbal cues can aid parents, teachers, and therapists in managing their interactions with children and adults (click on the player to listen):
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