‘I Don’t Want this Child!’ – when Attachment doesn’t stand a chance
Speakers: Dr Gwen Adshead & Dr Chrissy Jayarajah
Date: 23 March 2023, Thursday
Location: Online streaming only (all our webinar tickets now include complimentary access to a video recorded version for 1 year)
Times: 4:00am to 7:00am, Melbourne / Sydney, Australia time
CPD hours: 3 / CE Credits: 3
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In our focus on the developing Attachment Bond in therapeutic studies, we might end up not discussing situations where, for a variety of reasons – whether individual or societal, the mother is just not ready to accept the new addition to her life. Attachment doesn’t even have a starting ground in these scenarios – are all such situations headed for an insecure and maladapted foundation? What dynamics underly situations where the mother is just not ready to take the first steps towards Attachment? And what does this mean for the clients that we see?
Full Course Information
In an innovative new series, at nscience, we are starting a set of webinars which will be led by illustrative case examples. This framework will be used to create the discussion environment on difficult / lesser discussed topics. At this webinar we make a start with the following three vignettes:
(note: these vignettes will provide the seeds for our discussion, the webinar will then build on other examples and cases that participants bring):
- 16 year old student, presents to A&E with abdominal pain and cramping. Ultrasound scan shows six months pregnancy – she has an existing condition of anorexia nervosa. she’s petrified of ‘getting fat’ during pregnancy and other bodily changes. She has plans to go to University and feels like this baby has robbed her of her life
- 38 year old housewife, presents clinically with a very flat, depressed mood. She has difficulty sleeping and is tearful all the time. She refers to her expected baby as ‘it’ and has not started acknowledging the unborn child’s presence. She has only recently found out that she is expecting her third baby – which is unplanned and unexpected- the child happens to be the wrong gender from a family pressure standpoint
- 27 year old architect – has delivered identical twin boys with IVF assistance – she had a traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, presents with post-natal symptoms and prolonged nausea. Describes feeling like a failure (failure to conceive, failure to have idealised pregnancy – as was sick throughout, failure to give birth as she wanted, failure to breastfeed) – presents as preoccupied with negative thoughts
In these scenarios, and others like that, does attachment stand a chance given a shaky start, to say the least? Our panel of experts (Gwen is a globally renowned expert on `Attachment Theory, while Chrissy is the acknowledged expert on peri and post-natal presentations) – will build on the case studies and delegate examples to discuss therapeutic implications and specifically consider:
- the impact of Attachment false starts – the interaction with genetic vulnerability and the interaction with exposure to stress
- clinical implications of Attachment on shaky grounds and how these present in mental health situations especially in perinatal care
- the trailing impact of Attachment false starts on parental behaviour and parent child relationships
- The clinical reality of how Attachment Security get disrupted and its practical manifestations in early years – especially when the child grows up feeling unwanted
- Explain the impact of Attachment false starts – the interaction with genetic vulnerability and the interaction with exposure to stress as well as the trailing impact of Attachment false starts on parental behaviour and parent child relationships
- Discuss the clinical implications of Attachment on shaky grounds and how these present in mental health situations especially in perinatal care
- Discuss the clinical reality of how Attachment Security get disrupted and its practical manifestations in early years – especially when the child grows up feeling unwanted
About the speakers
Dr Gwen Adshead is a Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist. She trained at St George’s Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Institute of Group Analysis. She is trained as a group therapist and a Mindfulness-based cognitive therapist and has also trained in Mentalisation-based therapy. She worked for nearly twenty years as a Consultant Forensic Psychotherapist at Broadmoor Hospital, running psychotherapeutic groups for offenders and working with staff around relational security and organisational dynamics. Gwen also has a Masters’ Degree in Medical Law and Ethics; and has a research interest in moral reasoning, and how this links with ‘bad’ behaviour.
Gwen has published a number of books and over 100 papers, book chapters and commissioned articles on forensic psychotherapy, ethics in psychiatry, and attachment theory as applied to medicine and forensic psychiatry. She is the co-editor of Clinical topics in Personality Disorder (with Dr Jay Sarkar) which was awarded first prize in the psychiatry Section of the BMA book awards 2013; and she also co-edited Personality Disorder: the Definitive Collection with Dr Caroline Jacob. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry (2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Medical Psychotherapy (2016). She is also the co-editor of Munchausens’s Syndrome by Proxy: Current issues in Assessment, Treatment and Research. Her latest book, The Deluded Self: Narcissism and its Disorders (2020) is out now with nscience publishing house.
Dr Chrissy Jayarajah MBBS MRCPsych DFSRH is Clinical Lead for CNWL Perinatal Services. She trained at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and completed her psychiatry training in London, with additional training in systemic (family) psychotherapy and forensic psychiatry. As a member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists with a Diploma in reproductive and sexual health, Dr Jayarajah has a keen interest in women’s health. She has developed Maternity Unit guidance for the management of mental health during pregnancy and delivery and has expertise in providing training surrounding identification of vulnerable women; including issues surrounding sexual health, domestic violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and women in prison. She is scientific adviser for the Maternal OCD Charity and has expertise in the management and treatment of perinatal OCD and use of medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
© nscience UK, 2022 / 23
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