"To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe."
- Marilyn Vos Savant
Northwestern Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is offering a course on infant observation tailored to the needs of psychotherapists in the Seattle mental health community. This course, which has long been a central part of psychoanalytic training, is now available to licensed mental health professionals interested in enhancing their professional development in British object relations theory and practice.
Observing an infant weekly from birth to one year gives a unique opportunity to learn about early childhood development as it is happening. This "experience near" form of learning allows access to the infant's earliest relationships with parents, siblings, and others in the family milieu. The infant's own experiences, its efforts to emotionally hold itself together, to develop trust, to have and internalize good objects, and to develop symbolic thought, can all be seen in their dynamic complexity.
Reflecting on these experiences in weekly classes with fellow observers and trained instructor(s) helps develop the capacity to infer mental growth and development in the infant and family members being observed. For many, there is a valuable carry over from this course to being able to better recognize and speak to the infant aspects of patients in the treatment situation, whatever their chronological age. The learning in this course derives from three components: the observation itself, the work of describing these experiences in written reports, and discussion of these experiences with colleagues and faculty trained in the Tavistock model of observing infants pioneered by Kleinian psychoanalyst Esther Bick.
- One-hour weekly observation of the infant and caregiver in the home.
- Detailed write-up of the infant/parent/sibling interactions and inferred emotional experiences, along with the observer's counter-transference responses.
- 90-minute weekly classes with a maximum of 5 colleague observers and the instructor.
Please Note: Infant observation is a required course in the NPSI psychoanalytic training program. Consequently, if an observer successfully completes this course, and later applies for and is accepted for analytic training, this requirement will be fulfilled.
Dates and time : This course will begin when we have 4 approved applicants. Once an observation cohort has formed the instructor will contact everyone who has applied to establish an exact start date. The course will convene on Fridays from 12:30 to 2:00 pm and run continuously until the youngest infant in the group has reached its first birthday.
Fees : $36 NPSI member/$40 non-member; CEU's available
Faculty Caron Harrang, LICSW, FIPA: Caron Harrang is a board certified training and supervising psychoanalyst and a Past President of the Washington chapter of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. She teaches infant observation informed by the Tavistock model and the work of Esther Bick, Wilfred Bion, Melanie Klein, Suzanne Maiello, Johann Norman and Donald Winnicott to mention a few.
Questions about the course: contact Caron Harrang at email@example.com