chapter  4
16 Pages

Mothers and babies in prison: a psychoanalytic approach supporting attachment


Psychoanalytic theories, and the cumulative body of systematic observation and clinical practice based on these theories, have much to contribute to the provision of effective interventions for high risk populations (e.g. Boston and Szur, 1983; Burlingham and Freud, 1942, 1944; Katz et al., 1967; Rustin, 1984; Winnicott, 1975). Psychoanalytic interest in the earliest attachment relationships and their vicissitudes, and the development of self and mental functioning within the framework of representations of early experiences is, we suggest, particularly relevant to the development and implementation of interventions with infant and parents. The clinical model of parent±infant psychotherapy developed at the Anna Freud Centre1 is a modality of psychoanalytic work that addresses this stage of development, and has been applied in a range of community settings with very high risk groups (Woodhead and James, 2007; Baradon and Steele, 2008; TomasMerills and Chakraborty, 2009; James with Newbury, 2009; Dalley, 2009).