The Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Is pleased to invite you to Online Public Lecture

The Dawn of Psychic Life

Primary rhythmical experiences and the quality of mental links

By Suzanne Maiello

07.10.2022, 16.00 -18.00 UK time, 18.00 – 20.00 BG time

The paper is useful for clinical work with children with deep emotional and mental difficulties, including in particular children who were born pre-term or children who survived a threat of miscarriage.

The paper explores the origins of interpersonal rhythmical experiences, which are deeply rooted in prenatal life and are considered to contribute in significant ways to the development of a balanced and creative functioning of the human mind, as well as in the growth of basic trust in the fundamental benevolence of human relationships. Both the reliability and the flexibility of internal objects and mental links are seen in connection with the internalization of alive and enlivening rhythmical shapes. The first part of the paper explores, from the developmental point of view, prenatal and early postnatal rhythmical experiences of the unborn and the newborn infant and thinks about their impact on the quality of the child’s growing mental and relational capacities.

In the clinical part of the paper, the author describes the absence of alive rhythmical elements in autistic states and in situations of psychic retreat. Two clinical histories illustrate the function of rhythmical elements in the therapeutic process. An autistic little girl shows the gradual awakening of an interest in the experience of rhythmically structured space, time and relatedness, and the analysis of an adult borderline patient. In her internal world all forms of rhythmical flexibility were frozen and she had to go through a breakdown of her rigid defensive organization to discover basic rhythms of living life.

Suzanne Maiello is a psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic child psychotherapist. She is a founder member and past President of the Italian Association of Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy (AIPPI), a member of the UK Association of Child Psychotherapy (ACP) and of the International Association of Analytical Psychology (IAAP). She is a teacher and supervisor of the AIPPI/Tavistock model training program (Rome and Milan), a member of the Faculty of the MA Program in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies of the University of Essex and a teacher and supervisor in the psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy training in Istanbul. Her special areas of interest are primary protomental development, with special attention to the unborn child’s auditory experience and memory of the mother’s voice, which she describes as the Sound Object, considered as the core of the postnatal maternal internal object. Her wide clinical experience with children and adults has nurtured her exploration of autistic and psychotic states and their connection with early trauma and the breakdown of protomental activity. She has lectured and supervised worldwide and is the author of over a hundred publications. She is a Board member of the Frances Tustin Memorial Trust and the recipient of the first edition of the Frances Tustin Memorial Prize in 1997.

Fee £30

Concession for candidates and groups of four and more – £20

To register please email with an attached proof of payment. A recording of the lecture will be only accessible to registered attendees for a period of one month.

Bank details: Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

IBAN: BG24 UBBS 88881 000 9209 46


Address:  9, Gen Skobelev bld, entrnce G, flat 5, Sofia, Bulgaria

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