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Thinking Here and Now

Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy

Conducted by Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman

Conversation with Beatrice Beebe

"Weaving together infant research and adult treatment".

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The conversation will take place on 25.10.2020

Tuesday, 7:30pm - 9:15 pm (Israel Time; UTC+2) 

and will be available via ZOOM.

Participation fee: 17$ or 15€

We invite you to the second" Here and Now- Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy" meeting with infant researcher and psychoanalyst Beatrice Beebe. The conversation will focus on Beebes discoveries about early mother interactions, the unique research methods she has developed, and the implications of her research findings on psychoanalysis with adults. The impact of infant research on adult treatment will be demonstrated through films and clinical examples.

Beatrice Beebe is a world-renowned clinical psychologist whose research focuses on nonverbal interactions between parents and babies and the effect of these interactions on adult care. Throughout her many years of research, Beebe demonstrates that the development of adult patients and the development studied in infant research are not two different worlds. She argues that the roots of all our relationships must be found in communication between parents and the baby, which affects the way we interact in adult life. She has studied the vital function of dyadic interaction in the early structure of experience.

 

Beebe believes that the significant influence of these interactions has been neglected by psychoanalysis. In her opinion, infant research is most fruitful to psychoanalysis because the fundamental processes of exchange at the nonverbal level remain so similar across the life span. As the therapist and the patient interact, their bodies respond and affect each other, creating a deep and unconscious dynamic.

Empirical infant research explores patterns of interaction that help clinicians to better understand the nonverbal processes that are responsible for the usual verbal give and take. Especially with "difficult to treat" patients, this attention to the interactive process itself analogs to frame-by-frame analysis significantly influences therapeutic power. 

 

One of Beebes famous case study was the case of Dolores. Dolores suffered early maternal loss and trauma. Too fearful, withdrawn, and dissociated, she nevertheless longed for attachment. But she could not look at Beebe, her face was dampened, and she was often silent. Beebe made an unusual intervention, derived from her background with videotape microanalysis of mother-infant interactions. She took a series of videos of Dolores and her together, and of Beebes face only while I interacted with her. On the effect that this unusual intervention had on Dolores, Beebe writes: "Because she did not look at me at this time, seeing my face seeing her while she watched the videotape and hearing my sounds responding to her, heightened her experience of my response and her own visceral experience: she came to recognize herself in my face-recognizing her."

 

Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry), College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute.

 

She directs a basic research lab on mother-infant communication. She is faculty at several psychoanalytic institutes, and she has a private practice for adults and mother-infant pairs. She is the author or co-author of 6 books. The most recent is The mother-infant interaction picture book: Origins of attachment (Beebe, Cohen & Lachman, Norton, 2016). For a decade, she directed a pro bono primary prevention project for mothers who were pregnant and widowed on 9-11 (Beebe, Cohen, Sossin, & Markese, Eds., Mothers, infants, and young children of September 11, 2001: A primary prevention project, 2012). A documentary film about her research is available (website of the Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing [PEPweb], Mother-Infant Communication: The Research of Dr. Beatrice Beebe, by Karen Dougherty, 2016).