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A model of intervention at a psychoanalytic parent/child drop-in group in a poor district of Lima, Peru

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The psychoanalytically informed work of a team of workers at a drop-in centre for families in a poor district of Lima is described. Interventions involve: accepting, connecting, playing and empowering. Clinical vignettes are used to illustrate the ways in which these interventions aim to help families. The acceptance of difficult feelings provides containment for attendees; acceptance of individuality fosters a greater capacity to mentalise. In viewing the patient as the relation between parents and child, connections are forged and encouraged between family members. Questions and difficulties that parents express are relayed to children in a palatable way, modelling the inclusion of children in the family dialogue. Playing is advocated and encouraged and elements of the fluid ‘frame’ impact on how playful interactions are shaped. Empowering takes place through encouraging reflexivity and dissolving fantasies of passivity. Questions about child behaviour are reflected back to the questioner or to other attendees, and pathologising diagnostic terms, if raised by families, are challenged and investigated, rather than accepted, encouraging families to carry on thinking. The implications of this model of work are discussed.
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Keywords: alpha-function; community psychoanalysis; individuality; internal clinician; mentalisation; parent–child therapy; positive connotation; reflexivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The Anna Freud Centre, 12 Maresfield GardensLondon,NW3 5SU, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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