Maternal death wishes: From baby murder to psychological infanticide
Parent Infant Centre - Dr Stella Acquarone
Although Sigmund Freud wrote extensively about death wishes in the family, he devoted far more attention to the child’s desire to kill the parent of the same sex and, also, any unwanted siblings, rather than to the parent’s desire to murder the child. Donald Winnicott elaborated upon the concept of parental death wishes, especially in his classic essay, “Hate in the Counter-Transference”, albeit rather briskly.
Building upon these foundational contributions, Professor Brett Kahr will draw upon his work with psychotic and forensic patients and, also, with normal-neurotic individuals, to explore the many ways in which maternal and paternal death wishes and death threats towards babies and children become internalised over time and, ultimately, contribute to the development of severe psychopathology.
Kahr will explore the concept of the “infanticidal attachment”, examining how early death threats can damage the very foundations of the ego structure, resulting in psychosis, suicidality, criminality, severe eating problems, life-threatening addictions, and a host of other extreme psychological states. Utilising extensive case material, he will consider how intensive, long-term psychoanalytically orientated treatment can contribute to the neutralisation of such toxic “infanticidal introjects.”
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