Becoming a Separate Person
Author/s: Elizabeth Loughlin
Keywords: Mahler, separation, individuation, creative dance, parent-infant, early childhood development
Page #: 1
This article focuses on Mahler’s theories regarding the infant’s processes of ‘separation’ and ‘individuation from their primary caregiver, examined in the setting of a parent and child creative dance class as patterns of motility, distancing and rejoining. She discusses key sub-phases that a toddler moves through including initial differentiation, autonomous exploration and a ‘rapprochement’ phase in which the toddlers attention is redirected to his mother (Mahler, Pine and Bergman, 1975:4). Loughlin discusses the implications of these phases for an infant dance class, and important considerations for dance teachers and therapists.