Magazine
Latest Issue

Life of the mind

In pursuit of neutrality

By Anna Blundy   September 2013

The Baby Observation is a key part of psychotherapeutic training. It is exactly what it says it is. Once a week you go and observe a newborn baby for an hour. That’s it. You sit, neutrally (in an ideal world) and you watch. The idea is that you learn about early development and begin to adopt the psychoanalytic stance—watching and listening “without memory or desire,” as Wilfred Bion, one of the major post-Freudian psychoanalysts, put it.

This “negative capability,” the therapist’s attempt at a kind of absorbent neutrality, is fraught with difficulty. Female trainees quite often get pregnant in the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect