Actions and Detail Panel
The Freud Bar: From childhood observation to adult life: The Robertson Film...
Tue 23 February 2016, 19:30 – 22:00 GMT
British Psychoanalytic Association presents The Freud Bar.
Speaker: Ju Tomas-Merrills, BPA Psychoanalyst
Chair: Jan Harvie Clark, BPA Psychoanalyst
About the speaker
Ju Tomas-Merrills is a psychoanalyst. She has worked in the public and private sector. She worked at the AFC in the PIP team as a parent-infant psychotherapist and was a pioneer in the delivery New Beginnings Programme for mothers and babies in prison. She contributed to the team’s publication of their work in the “Relational Trauma in Infancy” edited by Tessa Baradon published by Routledge in 2009.
Young Children in Brief Separation
In order to study responses to the separation from mother when this is not complicated by other disturbing experiences (such as sudden transfer from home, illness and pain, cot confinement, multiple caretakers), and when emotional needs are met, James and Joyce Robertson took into their home a series of four young children of previous good experience who were in need of foster care while mother was in hospital to have a second child. How the children coped with separation from the mother when given good substitute care in a setting with which they had been made familiar was observed and filmed. The children's ages ranged from 17 months to two years five months, and lengths of stay from ten to 27 days.
Although these are not typical of the foster placements dealt with by childcare agencies, the films raise considerations of understanding and practice which are relevant to all foster care, to the care of young children in nurseries and paediatric wards, and to the teaching of normal child development.
Ju will select some examples of the films from the collection (in total five films).
One example is JOHN, aged 17 months, for 9 days in a residential nursery.
Synopsis of the film JOHN
For two days John tries to attach himself to a nurse, but because they are not assigned to individual children no nurse attends to John long enough to understand him and answer his needs. He is not mothered or protected from attacks by the other children. Food and routines are strange, and the father's visits can do little to ease the situation. John becomes increasingly distressed, and eventually sinks into hopeless apathy. At reunion he rejects his mother