American Journal of Applied Psychology
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American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2014, 2(5A), 1-4
DOI: 10.12691/ajap-2-5A-1
Open AccessResearch Article

Maternal Function in Neonatal ICU: Psychoanalytic Considerations on the Experience of Mothers in Hospitals

Barreto Cristiane Palmeira de O.1 and Nobre Thalita Lacerda2,

1Psychoanalyst. Master in Clinical Psychology - Center for Psychoanalytic - Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC / SP). Specialist in Psychoanalysis by IPUSP. Member of ABEBE - Brazilian Association of Studies on Baby. Member of MPASP - Psychoanalytic Movement, Autism an d Public Health.Department, São Paulo, Brazil

2PhD Clinical Psychology – Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC/SP). Professor and supervisor at Catholic University of Santos – SP – Brazil and Paulista University – Santos – SP - Brazil

Pub. Date: October 27, 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Different ways of applied psychology nowadays, in Brazil)

Cite this paper:
Barreto Cristiane Palmeira de O. and Nobre Thalita Lacerda. Maternal Function in Neonatal ICU: Psychoanalytic Considerations on the Experience of Mothers in Hospitals. American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2014; 2(5A):1-4. doi: 10.12691/ajap-2-5A-1


This article is part of the dissertation entitled " Mothering and Maternal Function in Neonatal ICU: a psychoanalytic study" and has the purpose of elucidating the relationship between motherhood and maternal function in the hospital environment. Therefore, the meaning of the two concepts is presented, as well as a distance is proposed between the two where mothering competes the incumbency of the necessary caretaking for survival and maternal function, the exercise of a symbolic function - which refers the subject to the size of their psychic constitution in its relation to the language field. The research was to determine whether the difficulty in the exercise of motherhood, within a neonatal intensive care unit, could interfere with the conditions for sustaining maternal function, usually exercised by the mother. The research that led to this dissertation and the work was carried out in a private hospital of São Paulo city, with mothers of both male and female babies, preterm neonates at the Neonatal ICU, and subsequently after discharge. The theoretical foundation is sustained on the psychoanalytic theory of Freud and Lacan, and also on the four theoretical axes formulated in Clinical Indicators of Risks in Infant Development (IRDI). In conclusion, this study reveals the presence of suffering caused by the psychic impact of a preterm child and the admission in the Neonatal ICU, as well as the difficulty in mothering the baby, from the speech of mothers. However, despite the psychic rapture, in the analysis of the symbolic function – based on the four fundamental operations, deduced by me from IRDI - it was possible to note the conditions for the maternal function to be carried out.

mothering maternal function Neonatal ICU IRDI Research

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