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Therapy Experience of Parent-Infant Psychotherapy for Mothers and their Infants

Spitzfaden, Sarah; (2018) Therapy Experience of Parent-Infant Psychotherapy for Mothers and their Infants. Doctoral thesis (D.Psych), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This is a qualitative study of therapy experience for mothers and their infants in parent-infant psychotherapy (PIP). In a recent RCT on PIP there were positive outcomes for mothers, but little or no change indicated for the infants. These mixed outcomes promoted interest in further exploration and understanding given the prevalence in maternal depression, and the long-standing impact of child attachment outcomes and social adversity in the first year. Furthermore, PIP has been shown to improve these outcomes for mothers and infants. Additionally, therapy experience research has recently gained attention due to an increasing emphasis on service user feedback. Experience of therapy has been shown to impact treatment engagement and outcomes. However, an initial literature search indicated limited experiential studies on relational-based therapy, such as PIP, in the perinatal and post-natal periods. Existing findings were mostly informed by adult and individual psychotherapies. This study aimed to explore mothers’ experiences of PIP. The rationale was to provide understanding of the RCT findings; inform clinical practice; and contribute to the body of literature on therapy experience. The method included Therapy Experience Interviews (TEI) of 29 mothers randomly allocated to PIP during the previous study. The mothers had both mental health difficulties and high levels of social adversity. The participants were interviewed six months post-randomisation. Interview transcripts were thematically analysed. Limitations are discussed. The resulting themes from the mothers’ accounts were trust, feeling overwhelmed, letting it all out, conflict and confusion, time and working through. It was concluded that these themes offer insight into complexities of therapy experience for these mothers. Over time, mothers were able to make use of the trusted therapist to let out all their emotions and feelings in order to work through the overwhelming experience of motherhood.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Psych
Title: Therapy Experience of Parent-Infant Psychotherapy for Mothers and their Infants
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055876
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