"Parent Infant Psychotherapy from a Psychoanalytic Perspective:
A 14-month-old toddler with hair pulling symptom"
with Christine Anzieu, M.D.
The triadic therapy of a 14-month-old baby who compulsively pulled her hair and had damaged her skin demonstrates how the self is a "body-in-relation" self and the importance of libidinization of the baby's body by the earliest contact with the mother. The work with the loving but depressed parents who neglected their baby in order to make her independent, was associated with direct intervention through play therapy with the young child, allowing the repressed feelings to be expressed and communicated to her parents.
Trichotillomania is not only aggression against self but also the result of feeling deserted and unloved; the child attempted to hold onto the self when others failed to provide emotional support, then bodily feelings were disturbed. The child learned to “lean on herself” and feel her body through self-injurious hair pulling and, in this way, satisfied a need for tenderness and contact in a primitive way. Thus, disturbed bodily feelings, detachment from the mother, and suppressed impulses had lead to the development of trichotillomania.
New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium