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Br J Med Psychol. 1998 Mar;71 ( Pt 1):73-83.

A group for the adult daughters of mentally ill mothers: looking backwards and forwards.

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Women's and Children's Hospital, South Australia.


A closed time-limited therapy group was conducted for four women who had all been raised by mentally ill mothers. Themes recurring frequently included hatred of self and mother, current lack of extended family support, current parenting difficulties, ongoing stigma and isolation. All group members perceived themselves as troubled despite others' perceptions of them as resilient. The results for the individuals treated are outlined using clinical material, as statistical analysis was not undertaken. All were able to cease individual therapy. Conclusions focus on the benefits of such a group process of recognition and affirmation of the profound consequences of a mother's mental illness on her daughters and thence to grandchildren. The possibility of primary prevention using techniques from infant-parent and child-group therapy is discussed.

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