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Young infants' triangular communication with their parents in the context of maternal postpartum psychosis: Four case studies
Infant Mental Health Journal
With increasing data on the dynamics of normative couples as they transition to parenthood and become a triad, the need for greater understanding of the impact of parental psychopathology on this transition has become clear. The goal of the current article is to begin exploring this area that has received little attention to date, by describing case examples from a study of clinical families as they transitioned to parenthood. Four representative cases were selected from a pool of 13 mother-father-baby triads, for whom the mother had been hospitalized conjointly with her infant due to a psychotic episode during the postpartum period. The families were observed as part of a clinical consultation that included a semistructured play paradigm known as the Lausanne Trilogue Play (LTP; E. Fivaz-Depeursinge, & A. Corboz-Warnery, 1999). Interactions were scored using standardized measures as well as clinical impressions. All families from the clinical sample were noted to struggle and frequently failed to achieve the goals of play. The impact on the infants in terms of their developing sense of self as well as their defensive strategies in this context are discussed, with clinical implications explored.
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