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What Can the Matter Be?

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About the Author

Elizabeth Bradley is a consultant Child and Adolescent psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic. She is a psychoanalyst and has a special interest in the application of psychoanalytic ideas to working with parents and children. She has written about unconscious factors affecting emotional life in pregnancy and motherhood. She has been a leading member of the Under Fives Service at the Tavistock Clinic. Louise Emanuel (d. 2017) was a consultant child psychotherapist in the Child and Family Department of the Tavistock Clinic. She was head of the Under Fives Service and convenor of its training forum, the Infant Mental Health Workshop. She had a special interest in parent-infant interventions and parent-couple work. She was Course Organiser of the MA in Infant Mental Health and taught on the Tavistock Clinical Training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. She lectured in Europe, Australia, South Africa and South America, and was author of two books on young children and mental health.


'This volume is the result of over twenty years of therapeutic interventions with families within the Tavistock Clinic's Under Fives Service. It describes in detail the process of understanding young children's communications and behaviour and the dynamics of family relationships within the consulting room in a lively, accessible style. It covers common themes in work with young children such as disruptive, angry behaviour, separation and sleep difficulties, and problems in the parent/couple relationship. This book is essential reading for all early years professionals hoping to gain a greater understanding of the technique, observational skills and theory which underlie a psychodynamic approach to work with the under fives.'- Margot Waddell, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic'This rich collection celebrates the Tavistock Clinic Under Fives Service, which has much to teach us about the needs and possibilities of therapeutic interventions for families. With its multi-layered approach - to theory, service provision and clinical practice; to infants, toddlers and children; to their parents as adults now and as children then - this riveting book can be read on many levels and should be required reading for all those involved in "the early years".' - Penelope Leach, Founder member of the Association for Infant Mental Health-UK; author of "Your Baby and Child" and "Children First" 'This lively book will prove invaluable to professionals in both clinic and community settings. Rich case material brought by each contributor illustrates the complexities of brief focused work in families with young children whose distress manifests in a variety of presenting problems. Modelling for clients their own emotional availability and capacity to withstand the tremendous impact of powerful forces, these very experienced clinicians support families by providing thinking space and promoting thoughtfulness.' - Professor Joan Raphael-Leff, Psychoanalyst; Leader, Teen-Parents' Project, UCL/Anna Freud Centre, London 'This scholarly book is a welcome addition to the expanding field of literature on infant mental health and, in particular, to clinical work with infants and their parents. The book describes clearly how the application of observational skills, psychoanalytic concepts and child development research underpin the work, making it accessible to all mental health professionals, whether infant, child or adult therapists.' - Elizabeth Tuters (Toronto,Canada) Infant, Child, Adult Psychoanalyst; Member of Board of Directors, World Association of Infant Mental Health 'This collection of papers is an important resource for clinicians intervening with troubled under fives and their families. The writing vividly conveys the intense passions of young children's emotional life and represents a distillation of clinical expertise, in particular the therapists' creative commitment to reaching the children and their families. Deeply moving and inspiring, this book sends a message of hopefulness that thoughtful clinical intervention can have a transformative effect on the lives of children and their families.' - Frances Thomson Salo, adult and child psychoanalyst; Associate Professor, University of Melbourne, Masters of Infant Mental Health

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