Articles

Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 158-169

First online:

Clinical approaches to traumatized parents: Psychotherapy in the intensive-care nursery

  • Charles H. ZeanahAffiliated withStanford University School of Medicine
  • , Charlene I. CangerAffiliated withStanford University Hospital
  • , J. David JonesAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center

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Abstract

Clinical approaches to parents who are traumatized by the birth of a premature or defective infant are described. Psychotherapy with parents in the intensive-care nursery relieves suffering and promotes growth and development of the vulnerable parent-infant relationship in this extraordinary setting. Crisis intervention seeks to re-establish parents' temporarily disrupted psychological equilibrium. Supportive psychotherapy helps parents establish and maintain adaptation at a new level. Insight-oriented psychotherapy brings into awareness past conflicts that are interfering with an optimal parent-infant relationship.