Holding Difference in Mind – Rebecca HallBook tickets
British Psychoanalytic Association
Holding difference in mind
This paper began life some years ago as a clinical vignette for a conference on work with infants and young children. It was developed (with the help of a thoughtful seminar group) for a clinical workshop foregrounding questions of race and difference, which was organised for Child Psychotherapists. The paper is titled Holding Difference in Mind and was always intended as a live, unfinished piece of work to be actively engaged with. It describes a brief clinical intervention undertaken in a specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for Looked After Children. The work – perhaps best described as a therapeutic observation – took place in a foster placement with a Foster Carer and a baby who was “failing to thrive”. In addition to highlighting the complex anxieties and organisational defences mobilised in professional networks by the transition from foster care to adoption, the paper uses detailed observational work to situate the axes of race and class as critical constitutive elements in the painful picture that unfolds.
Becky Hall moved from post graduate work in the field of Literature and post-coloniality to train as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic. She subsequently trained as a Psychoanalyst at the BPA. She has worked for many years in NHS services for children and families and has developed a special interest in work with Looked After children, Adoption and parental mental health. She currently works in the NHS and in private practice with children, adolescents and adults. She teaches Infant Observation at the BPA and is a Trustee of the Stuart Hall Foundation.