Infant Observation

Infant Observation trains the observer in disciplined psychoanalytic observation. The object is the study of the growth of mind and personality of the infant and the familial context in which this may be facilitated or impeded.

Infant Observation is offered as part of the Certificate in Observational Studies and Therapeutic Skills with Children, or as a stand-alone course Infant Observation Seminar Groups usually comprise 5 or 6 members. Each member of the group observes an infant in its own home, in interaction with family members, from birth for two years.  The observation visits are weekly and last an hour.

Detailed notes of all that has been observed are made as soon as possible after the observation as the purpose of these observations includes the training of the observer in disciplined observation.  This includes the noting of the observer’s feelings and behaviour, and subsequent reflection. The perspective adopted is mainly psychoanalytic but literature in child development research is referred to where appropriate. Particular emphasis is placed on an attempt to describe the infant’s emotional and psychological experience as manifested in all aspects of his/her behaviour and early relationships.

The seminar group meets weekly for 1 ¼ hours. Thus each member has the opportunity to follow the early development of a number of babies in detail over two years.

Irene Chait –