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Infant Ment Health J. 2009 May;30(3):287-300. doi: 10.1002/imhj.20215.

Video interaction guidance inviting transcendence of postpartum depressed mothers' self-centered state and holding behavior.

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Sorlandet Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway.
University of Oslo, Norway.


By sometimes evoking self-absorbed and avoidance behaviors in new mothers, postnatal depression affects the quality of mother-infant interaction, which in turn may invoke distress and avoidance in the infant and cause even more lasting impairment in the child's development. Three depressed mothers, A, B, and C, are reported upon after having been offered counseling in accordance with the Marte Meo approach through jointly watching with the therapist video replays of themselves interacting with their newborns. Clinical vignettes are offered which indicate how empathic and positive support of a sensitive therapist can be helpful in inviting the mother's recognition of her importance to her infant and facilitating mutually gratifying interaction between mother and child. Protocol analyses of select sessions of video-related therapy reveal that two of the mothers sometimes complete the therapist's unfinished statements in an other-centered manner, thereby transcending their initial self-centered state. This is most dramatic in the case of Mother A, who starts out in the first session almost incapable of speech, merely nodding or shaking her head. In addition to other indications of improved mother-infant interaction, comparison of pre- and postguidance windows regarding the three mothers' holding behaviors reveals a shift from an avoidance or anxious stance to closer and more secure holding.


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