Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 17–36 | Cite as

Mother–Infant Research Informs Mother–Infant Treatment

  • Beatrice Beebe
Original Paper


A brief mother–infant treatment approach using “video feedback” is described. This approach is informed both by psychoanalysis and by research on mother–infant face-to-face interaction using video microanalysis. Two cases are presented. In the first, descriptions of the videotaped interactions which informed the interventions are presented. In the second, knowledge of mother–infant microanalysis research informed the treatment, even though videotaping was not an option. The respective “stories” of the presenting complaints, the video interaction, and the parent’s own upbringing are linked. Specific representations of the baby that may interfere with the parent’s ability to observe and process her nonverbal interaction with her infant are identified. The mother has a powerful experience during the video feedback of watching herself and her baby interact. Our attempts together to translate the action-sequences into words facilitates the mother’s ability to “see” and to “remember,” fostering a rapid integration of implicit and explicit modes of processing.


Video-assessed mother-infant treatment Mother-infant research 



This work was partially supported by NIMH grant R01-MH41675, the Fund for Psychoanalytic Research of the American Psychoanalytic Association, the Kohler Stiftung, the Edward Aldwell Fund, and the Laura Benedek Infant Research Fund. I am grateful for the help of my research team: Caroline Flaster, Donna Demetri-Friedman, Nancy Freeman, Patricia Goodman, Michaela Hager-Budny, Sara Hahn-Burke, Elizabeth Helbraun, Allyson Hentel, Tammy Kaminer, Sandra Triggs Kano, Limor Kaufman-Balamuth, Marina Koulomzin, Sara Markese, Lisa Marquette, Irena Milentejevic, Danielle Phalen, Alan Phalen, Jill Putterman, Jane Roth, Shanee Stepakoff, Sandra Triggs Kano, Rhonda Davis, Helen Demetriades, Greg Kushnick, Paulette Landesman, Tina Lupi, Jillian Miller, Michael Ritter, Stephen Ruffins, Claudia Andrei, Emily Brodie, Lauren Cooper, Lauren Ellman, Nina Finkel, Matthew Kirkpatrick, Adrienne Lapidous, Michelle Lee, Sandy Seal, Nicholas Seivert, Hwee Sze Lim, and Marina Tasopoulos. I thank Anni Bergman, Phyllis Cohen, Rita Reiswig, Mark Sossin, Sally Moskowitz, Suzi Tortora, Frank Lachmann, Phyllis Ackman, George Downing, Mary Sue Moore, Juliet Hopkins, Barbara Kane, Lotte Kohler, Ilene Lefcourt, Wendy Olesker, Lin Reicher, and Johanna Tabin for their clinical consultations. I thank my statistical team, Howard Andrews, Karen Buck, Patricia Cohen, Henian Chen, Stanley Feldstein and Donald Ross. Joseph Jaffe has been an invaluable consultant and advisor.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NYS Psychiatric InstituteColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and PsychoanalysisNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of SubjectivityNew York CityUSA
  4. 4.Columbia University Psychoanalytic CenterNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Columbia Psychoanalytic Center Parent-Infant ProgramNew YorkUSA

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