Notes on T. O. P psychological Birth Development (Mahler) Stage 1: Normal Autism

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NOTES on T.O.P-WPS Office


Psychological Birth Development (Mahler)

Stage 1: Normal Autism (3-4weeks old)

• Cared for automatically without having to exert effort.

Objectless Stage

Stage 2: Normal Symbiosis (4-5weeks old)

• a dual unity with one common boundary (Mahler, 1967 p. 741)

• infant can recognize the mother’s face and can perceive her pleasure or distress.
• object relation have not yet begun

Stage 3: Separation Individuation (5-36months old)

• achieve sense of individuation

• think of outside world as more dangerous than it was during the first two stages.

  • Substages of Separation Individuation

  1. Differentiation (5-10months Old)

- breaking away from mother-infant orbit

  1. Practicing (7-16months old)

- Develops an autonomous ego

  1. Rapprochement (16-25months old)

- the desire to comeback to mother-infant orbit

  1. Libidinal Object Constancy (25-36months old)

- must develop a constant inner representation of their mother so they can tolerate being separated from the mother.

Heinz Kohut

• emphasize the transition from vague to clear and precise sense of individual identity

• adult caregiver must satisfy not only the physical needs of the infant but also the psychological needs.

• treats infants as if they have sense of self

• "the center of initiative and recipient of impressions"

• self is also the child's focus of interpersonal relations

• Infants has to narcissistic needs

  1. The need to exhibit grandiose self

  2. The need to acquire an idealized image of one or both parents.

John Bowlby's Attachment Theory

- he believes that the attachment formed during childhood has important impact on adulthood

3 stages of Separation Anxiety

  1. Protest - resist soothing from other people other than their caregivers

  2. Despair - infants becaome quiet, sad, passive, listless, and apathetic.

  3. Detachment - emotionally detached from other people, especially their caregivers.

Assumptions on Attachment Theory

  • A responsive and accessible Caregivers (or Mothers) must create a secure base for the child

  • Bonding relations (or lack thereof) becomes internalized and serves as mental working model.

Mary Ainsworth

  • The Strange Situations

  • Secure Attachment

- infants are happy and enthusiastic and initiates contact

  • Anxious-Resistant Attachment

- infants are ambivalent

  • Anxious-Avoidant Attachment

- Infants accept strangers and ignores the mother


  • Klein insisted that negative transference was an essential step toward successful treatment

  • She used Play Therapy as a substitute to dream analysis and free association

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