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Mothers in Mind : The Dynamics of Child Mistreatment

The B.B.Zeitlyn Psychotherapy Training Fund

:Saturday 29th April 2023, 10.00 - 12.30


Gwen Adshead will explore the dynamics that lie behind maternal child maltreatment: when mothers cause harm to their children. She will draw on attachment theory to explore the role of transgenerational traumaas arisk factor for child maltreatment, and discuss how the transition to motherhood may be painful and difficult for many women. She will also draw on analytic literature about the role of defences in the failure of maternal careas well as her experience of assessing mothers for the family court, where removal of children from their mother’s care is being considered. Gwen will also use her own research in this field, including studies of mothers who give false or exaggerated accounts of their children’s illness. The talk will conclude with some reflections on what might be done to reduce child maltreatment, and the role of therapists.

Dr Gwen Adshead is a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She trained at St George’s Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry and the Institute of Group Analysis. For the last thirty years, Gwen has worked as a therapist with violence perpetrators, both male and female, in secure hospitals and in prisons. She has a research interest in attachment theory, and how this might help understand violence to others, especially when victims and perpetrators are in close relationships. Having written or co-edited many academic books and papers, Gwen has written her first book for a general audiencetogether with Eileen Horne: The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassionwhich was published by Faber in June 2021.

To book online go to and click on Calendar

Cost of tickets is £35

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