What, you might ask, does an infant observation have to do with working with difficult emotions in psychotherapy?
Early on the infant makes no distinction between physical and emotional distress. There is no concept of time. Everything is in the moment. So that, without a good enough mother the experience of pain is endless. Imagine, the infant is not soothed, and a traumatic memory of perhaps not counting is tucked away, dissociated, with no words to express it. Imagine, if you will, observing an infant’s response when mother is distracted. Maybe there is sufficient that is similar to re-wake the old trauma. And then what happens? How much does this mimic a response in the therapy room when faced with a client expressing emotions that the therapist finds difficult?