Ghosts in the Nursery. A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired. Infant-Mother Relationships. Selma Fraiberg, Edna Adelson, and Vivian Shapiro. Ghosts in the NurseryA Psychoanalytic Approach to the Problems of Impaired Infant-Mother Relationships Selma Fraiberg, Edna. Ghosts in the nursery revisited. Authors; Authors and Clinical studies in infant mental health: The first year of life, Fraiberg, S. (Ed.). Basic Books, Inc., New York .

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Why should I be haunted? The ghosts that Fraiberg refers to are the kind that are unseen, tormented, and tormenting. They often manifest as symptoms, deep emotional wounds, and broken relationships. Sometimes, the symptoms and problems are experienced immediately in the form of children acting out, or tension in the home. Other times, these symptoms come out only years later in the form of a relentless depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder thd adulthood.

Where do these ghosts come from? Sometimes it can be great great grandfathers and great great grandmothers too. They represent the voices of the past. According to the article, they are usually, the abusive voices.

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Theirs are the voices of ghosts that linger, and haunt, and continue the inter-generational transmission of past fraibfrg. In the above mentioned paper, the thesis and conclusion are clear. The authors suggest that many people experience pain or difficulty during childhood, but not all parents inflict that same pain on their children.

What distinguishes those that do repeat the past trauma from those that make a conscious effort not fariberg repeat the pain of the past?

Ghosts in The Nursery: How the Past Affects the Present

The authors emphasize the importance of remembering the pain. The article reviews two fraiebrg studies. In this case, Mrs. March cannot give her daughter Mary affection.

She is emotionally cut off from her, and preoccupied with the thought of abandoning her, and giving her up for adoption. She is also focused on the possibility that her husband is not the biological father of Mary.


Both of these preoccupations represent obsessions with the past, as Mrs. March herself was abandoned by her mother, and has a family history of promiscuity. Her unconscious is fixated on the conflicts and dilemmas of past adult figures, and she is repeating their experience identifying with the aggressor rather than ghosys with the victimized child in the situation.

I love this beautifully written article. Gohsts is moving, and the empathy for the patients seeps through the words. I agree with the central premise of the article, despite how simple it sounds: That is the crux of therapy, to remember. However, I think it is worth pointing out that in general childhood is hard to remember, ghosts abound, and many of us repeat.

Childhood is such a distant past for us all. Childhood has nooks, and crannies, and crevices; ghosts, and angels, and wolves, and elves. It has textures rough, gooey, soft, pricklyand sounds caustic, soothing, perplexingand smells familiar and curious.

Hugging my child brings back the hugs of the past, or the lack of hugging. Seeing my child struggle brings back how my parents dealt with my struggles, or how they criticized rather than helped. Seeing my kids relate to one another brings back previously forgotten fights with my brother, and how my parents created amity between us or enhanced the hostility. But the ghosts are sometimes friendly ghosts, not just the kind that haunt and fraaiberg Even when we are not traumatized by the past, it inhabits us and speaks through us, for better or for worse.

If our ghosts are more of the sadistic variety rather than a friendly crew it becomes especially important to turn on the lights, and stare the ghosts straight into their core PAIN…the pain that they harbor and the pain they inflict. That is what therapy is for: What is your experience with ghosts in the nursery? How does your past the good, bad, and the ugly affect you in the present? How does it influence how you parent? Ghosts in the nursery. A psychoanalytic approach to the problems of impaired infant-mother relationships.


To read full text article click here. Selected Writings of Selma Fraiberg. I grew up with a Pacifist mother and a Passive-aggressive father. I am divorced, have one dead daughter 15and am alienated from my three sons 24,28, There is no hope of recovery. Do we ignore it and hope that it goes away? Is emotional hurt disfiguring? Is it so hideous to others that they are repulsed by it?

If so, is the disfigurement life threatening? If it is, can it be repaired? If not, how much does a person have to hurt before they die?

I thank you for sharing your response to my post and hope despite hardship you have been through that it inspires some hope. Calling for the first time is an act of courage.

Selma Fraiberg – Wikipedia

Even if a clinician that you call nnursery not available or affordable, she will offer referrals or at least give some direction in that regard. Best of luck to you…. Regretably, I am true to form. I used passive-aggressive behavior to respond to your legitimate blog. For this I truly apologize. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Notify me of new comments via email. Ghosts in The Nursery: Who nurseru possibly remember all of those? To read full text article click ghostx For other Work by Selma Fraiberg: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.

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