The Psychology of the Infant and the treatment of the adult

The Psychology of the Infant and the treatment of the adult

The Psychology of the Infant and the treatment of the adult 329 400 Paterakis Michalis
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Between the infant and the mother

The Psychology of the Infant and the treatment of the adult: A strong bond develops between the infant and the mother. The mother senses the infant’s needs and responds. He answers. The infant is hungry, the mother responds with food. The infant cries and the mother responds by hugging and rocking. The infant moves his arms and legs, his mother responds with a smile, talks to him, caresses him, hugs him again. These “answers” of the mother, the infant records them inside. It incorporates them. They become part of him. These responses eventually give the infant a sense of self. That is, the self develops and is structured through the mother’s reactions. Without them, objects appear fragmentary, separated, unclear, have double and triple meanings, and frighten the infant.

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The caress

Caressing is very important because it is the main way through which the infant acquires a sense of identity. The concept of “sense of identity” states that the individual feels one and unique and that he is not one with the mother and the world. Without touch, i.e. caressing, hugging, shaking, the infant cannot form a self-image. When a baby is born it does not feel that it is special. He feels as if he is merged with the things and persons around him. With his toys, with his room, with his mother, with his father, with the atmosphere, with the smells, with everything around him. It feels integrated with all visual, tactile, olfactory, gustatory and auditory stimuli. All this begins to become separate in the inner experience of the infant from that moment when the mother, using her strong bond with the infant, begins to have this intimate contact with him.

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The Psychology of the Infant and the treatment of the adult

There is no such thing as a perfect mother

There is no such thing as a perfect mother. But that is not important. I just mention this to show mothers that they don’t need to try to be perfect because not only does perfect not exist and never has, but actually striving for perfection reduces intimacy with the infant. The mother who is not perfect is the good mother. The infant, psychologically, needs nothing more than the presence of the mother, the warmth of the mother’s embrace, the giving, the touch, the smile, the caress and the rocking. In the first year of life, the presence of a single person who will take care of the baby is important and must be continuous. That is why the relevant law has been enacted for paid leave during pregnancy and for one year after, for women who have just given birth. So that they can be close to their child permanently during the first year of life.

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Infant Psychology and Adult Therapy: The Infant’s Senses

The 0-12 infant, contrary to popular opinion, feels, remembers and understands. The experiences – representations from the surrounding environment are internalized in him along with the sensations that follow them. The psychological and physical mother-infant bond allows the coordination of the mother with the infant and the coordination of the infant with the mother. This connection shapes experiences and sensations into a reality for baby and mom. Thus, a foundation is built upon which this bond moves. This base must be stable, during the first year of life. A baby who experiences attachment disruptions becomes agitated and fearful of extinction. The panic attacks that a person makes at the age of 25, for example, has its basis absolutely in these disturbances of the bond in question. The increased death anxiety is due to the separation anxiety experienced by the infant in this phase. The deprivation of the presence of the mother object in the infant creates the feeling of intense lack-deprivation. When a person feels deprived, then he will search throughout his life to fill this deprivation, to fulfill it. And he will seek to fulfill it by finding relationships and partners from whom he will ask for what he did not have then. They will not be able to give it to him, so he will be disappointed. He will be angry and depressed. In adulthood, people find substitutes to make up for this lost sense of caring. The substitutes are smoking, alcohol, drugs, and various kinds of addictions. Addictions which will simply mean the human need to depend. That is, to feel that he has this strong link that he could not have consistently in the first year of life.

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Infant Psychology and Adult Therapy: Investigations into the Infant Psyche

In the middle of the 20th century and during the first and second world wars, when many infants were left without a family and ended up in boarding schools, important scientific researches were carried out (Mahler, Bowlby) which clearly showed the following fact: all the children in the orphanages had the same amounts of food and the same care. But the children that the nurses of the boarding schools did not hug, either because they liked others more, or because they did not have time, simply died. You understand that the importance of these investigations is extremely important. Psychoanalysis says something very simple but very important: “an infant needs large amounts of love to survive.” I will add to this that this love must in the first year of life come from a stable person. Let there be other persons who contribute to this love. But the main person who will also be the mother figure in this period should be stable and permanent.



You spoil the baby

Give your infant constant unfailing love. Spoil it. Do not deprive him of anything. Give him your love generously. People who for various reasons did not have this generous love, or this love was suddenly interrupted, are sure to develop serious self-esteem problems. They develop such problems because within the strong bond of love there are important psychological phenomena which have begun to develop. So if there is no good bond or if the bond is broken, then these psychological phenomena significantly disturb the developing psyche.

Misconceptions about infant rearing

In Greece, as a people, we have impressed certain functions on how we raise children, which are completely wrong. Opinions of the type: “don’t hug it all the time because you will spoil it”, are out of place and time. That’s why the Greeks feel deprived as a people and that’s why they have low self-esteem which they try to overcompensate with statements like: “do you know who I am?”. The more the mother gives to her child in the first year of life, the less chance there is for him to develop some kind of problematic personality. The children who later when they go to school and do their mischief, claim more, hang out more, are also the most normal children and it is certain that they are not deprived. While children who are constantly quiet, do not relate much, do not talk much and do not claim, they are sure to live in a deprived environment.

Unfortunately, I do not have the space here to develop other important aspects of the strong bond between mother-infant and other psychological phenomena that take place in this relationship, but a first picture of what a mother can and should know is already beginning to emerge for the first year of her child’s life.

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*republication of the article is prohibited without the written permission of the author

See also: The Importance of the Stable Mother Figure
See also: Detention

The process of psychotherapy requires commitment, dedication and is addressed only to those who seriously see that they need to change their lives. If you are thinking of starting this journey, call me at 211 71 51 801 to make an appointment and see together how I can help you.

Mixalis Paterakis
Psychologist Psychotherapist
I accept by appointment
Karneadou 37 Kolonaki
Tel: 211 71 51 801


    Πατεράκης Μιχάλης
    Ψυχολόγος Αθήνα


      Psychologist Athens