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Initial stage—preparing for a new task

How do you prepare for a new task? Mrs. Bick spent several seminars describing in detail how I should introduce myself to the professional worker, in this case a health visitor, who would find a mother. She indicated a simple way of introducing baby observation to the mother. I should say, "I want to know more about babies and how they develop. I would find that useful." The arrangement with mother included meeting with father to acknowledge how my visits would affect both parents. Also my meeting father indicated that I considered him to be crucial for the baby's development. I was to introduce myself as simply as possible as someone wanting more understanding of babies, rather than as a professional, a child psychotherapist.

I was to set a regular day, time, and the hour limit of the visit as well as delineating possible times when I would not be visiting—Christmas, Easter, and August. There was to be a regular commitment to the visiting arrangements, just as there is in therapy to arrangements with a patient. This was considered crucial to the task of the observations. Our seminar discussions about the visits stressed accommodating the mother in order that she would feel that I was not making demands on her or intruding upon her desires for rest, her routine or the baby's sleep. I was to be the container and support for the baby and the family as much as possible, rather than having the family be available to meet my needs. Making changes in appointments was considered to be making demands on the family and disrupting their routine. Being emotionally present for the family's sake was emphasised sufficiently for me to withstand the initial stresses of visiting.

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