Online Lecture: Gerry Byrne
The more loving one…
Infants’ shape shifting to dwell in the mind of the parent
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"It is a harsh reality, I believe, that in the parent-infant dyadic relationship, when, to use W.H. Auden’s words; ‘equal affection cannot be’, it falls to the baby, inevitably, to be ‘the more loving one’. Additionally, in acrimonious separations, parents compete to be seen as ‘the more loving one’. In many such cases, infants and children may shift shapes to remain fitting in the mind(s) of the parent(s).
In this talk, I want to explicate the risks to an infant or child in the mind(s) of the parent(s).
With clinical examples, I will attempt to describe the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the infinite, seemingly inexhaustible variety of ways in which children can, in the mind of the parent, be unseen and unheard, or mis-seen and mis-heard, taken and mis-taken, go un-held or be mis-held, be let fall, or even be thrown and mis-thrown into the mind of another, usually the ‘othered’, parent.
I will also describe, with clinical material, work with parents in the Lighthouse Parenting Programme resulting in shifts in parental mentalizing of the child-in-mind" - Gerry Byrne
The More Loving One
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
How should we like it were stars to burn
Admirer as I think I am
Were all stars to disappear or die,
Late December: my father and I
Gerry Byrne is the Head of Attachment and Perinatal Services in for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which include four specialist services for families in the UK: Infant Parent Perinatal Service (Oxfordshire); Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service (Oxfordshire); Family Assessment and Safeguarding Service (Wiltshire & BaNES), ReConnect (Buckinghamshire). As a member of the FASS team since 1990, he has specialised in the assessment of parent-infant relationships and attachment, and the individual assessment and treatment of parents who have abused their infants. He provides expert evidence in legal proceedings on cases involving child abuse or neglect, assessment of parenting and where child placement is at issue. Gerry presented on the Lighthouse programme on 17 May 2013 – in a talk called ‘Illuminating the child-in-mind’. Read more of Gerry's bio here.
OXPIP Lectures are for professionals working with parents and infants
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