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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jun 16, 2019

The early parental caregiving is inscribed in the body of the baby and contributes to the structure of his mind. All the primary inscriptions program and shape, not only the brain of the newborn, but also are going to reemerge when this baby will become a parent.”


Description: Harvey Schwartz welcomes Dr. Meropi Michaleli who is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in Athens, Greece. Dr. Michaleli’s practice focuses on the psychoanalytic approach to pregnancy, the perinatal period, infertility and parent-infant therapy. She studied psychosomatics in Paris; she trained in brief mother-infant psychotherapy in Geneva and she has become a teacher of teachers, especially for health personnel involved in the perinatal and neonatal period especially those faced with infants and families under high psychosocial risk.


As you will hear in today’s interview, she has a deep appreciation of the importance of early intervention with parents and infants in order to forestall later pathologies, especially the intergenerational transmission of trauma.


Key takeaways:

[3:55] Dr. Michaleli’s program and her skills as an analyst applied to the perinatal period.

[5:20] How psychoanalytic thinking can contribute to healthcare.

[5:45] The transition to parenthood is a co-creation involving parents , the newborn, the fetus and the perinatal team.

[7:00] Four theoretical references for the perinatal period.

[7:54] The neuroscience research

[9:30] Importance of primary intervention.

[10:01] Interrupting intergenerational trauma by introducing a new way of relating.

[11:27] Enabling healthcare personnel to work using psychoanalytic resources.

[14:08] Decreasing of fragmentation and confusion in perinatal care.

[16:05] Psychoanalysis provides a holistic understanding for healthcare professionals.

[17:14] Group cohesiveness for professionals.

[17:30] Clinical case.

[21:10] Dr. Michaleli’s personal motivation to work in this area.

[23:50] From theory to real time interventions.

[24:28] The manifestation of the unknown.

[26:38] Interrupting intergenerational transmission of trauma through psychoanalytic intervention in the medical care system in Greece.


Mentioned in this episode:

IPA Off the Couch


Recommended Readings:


MANCIA M. (1981) On the beginning of mental life in the foetus. International .Journal of Psychoanalysis, 62:351-357 


RAPHAEL-LEFF J. (1993) Pregnancy -The inside story. London, Karnac 


ROUSSILLON R. (2009) Associativity and Non-Verbal Language,


SALOMONSSON B. (2018)   Psychodynamic interventions in pregnancy and Infancy Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives. London, NY, Routledge  


WINNICOTT  D. W. (1967): Mirror-role of mother and family in child development. In Playing and Reality. London: Routledge, 1999.