Observing interactions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


It is widely known that a traumatic birth, togheter with the complete set of events related to the initial intensive care provided to the newborn, will deeply impact and cause an important modification of the child's relational system. Anguish deriving from trauma, and from anxiety about the uncertainties on the infant's future development are deeply rooted in the parents' representation system, replacing the fantasmatic plasticity which accompanies the first stages of life of every human being. The traumatic event is like a foreign body, a sort of intruder in the parent-child relationship system. Later, with the child's growth and the development of processing and adaptive processes, this intruder is gradually substituted by what could be defined as the third pole of the system, that is the health care team. The creation of such a system establishes a complex network of relationships among all components, which are mutually dependent. An observation of the interactions therefore implies the creation of a peculiar mindset within the observer, focused on this interdependence; that means selecting within the events happening in a specific context, for example, a rehabilitation session or a control visit, such aspects of the behaviour of the different protagonists of the meeting (child, parents, therapist, clinician) that constitute a signal of the relationship which is being built. This approach to clinical practice implies a mental psychodynamic framework, according to which the relationship (i.e., the complex and articulated group of actions, emotions and fantasies that form the basis of the different relationships among human beings) represents the most suitable perspective to accept and understand the other in his complexity and fullness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Spastic Forms of Cerebral Palsy: A Guide to the Assessment of Adaptive Functions
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9788847014770
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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