chapter  10
Pre-verbal language in the treatment of a mother and infant: A clinical exploration
Pages 20

Increasing knowledge about early emotional life and the nature of primitive mental states has generated more interest in direct psychoanalytic work with infants and babies as a mode of clinical intervention. After a brief review of some of the literature on early emotional life and on the development of language, I will present detailed clinical material of a mother and baby ± ``Mrs. G'' and ``Ellie'' ± whom I saw together in treatment for ten months. I will examine the communication between them and the effects of verbal interpretations of emotional states on each of them. I will also present a few prenatal observations about Mrs. G's ``interaction'' with her fetus, observations which, despite their basis in psychoanalytic thought, must be seen to remain in the intuitive realm of what Bion called ``rational conjectures'' (Bion, 2000, p. 204).