Therapy with Infants: Treating a Traumatised Child

Author(s) : Inger Thormann, Author(s) : Inger Poulsen

Therapy with Infants: Treating a Traumatised Child

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When a child without a fully developed language experiences physical and psychological stress that exceeds the child’s capacity to cope, the experience can leave lasting marks, unless the child receives treatment.

Infant therapy is a method inspired by the work of the French pediatrician and psychoanalyst Francoise Dolto and her student Caroline Eliacheff. The method can be applied both with infants and with older children. The most important messages are, “Never allow the child’s pain to be forgotten,” and “Everything that is left unsaid ties up energy.” In therapy, the therapist puts the child’s stressful experiences into words. The infant’s story is told, the words bring order to the child’s chaos, and the trauma becomes an identified part of his or her life.

Infant therapy is primarily a therapeutic intervention aimed at traumatised infants, but the method can also be applied in daily educational practices by preschool teachers, nurses, teachers, day care providers and parents.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This book is an excellent example of the power of the word in the understanding of early trauma and work with very small infants. It shows the recovery, through the understanding at all levels, of the connections between trauma and symptom delivered in a respectful and intense setting and suggested to the infant as a possibility. I highly recommend this book.’
- Dr Stella Acquarone, Child and Adult Psychotherapist

About the Author(s)

Inger Thormann, MA, qualified from the Danish Supervisory Board of Psychological Practice in 1997 and has worked since 1973 as a psychologist in residential facilities for children who have suffered neglect and abuse, at the Skodsborg Treatment Centre for Infants. She is the author of six books for professionals and six children´s books, and is active as a film consultant, lecturer and teacher. She is also a sychologist in private practice.

Inger Poulsen was trained in body/gestalt therapy, sandplay therapy, and psychotherapy. She has worked with child, adolescent and adult psychology and psychiatry in Denmark, Sweden and Greenland. Since 1997 she has been head of the Family House, a psychotherapy clinic for pregnant women and families with young children. She is a psychologist in private practice offering infant therapy, early trauma therapy for older children, as well as therapy for adults who have experienced early (pre-language) trauma. She is alos active as a speaker, teacher and supervisor for professionals in Denmark and Greenland.

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