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John Bowlby, a famous attachment theorist, does play therapy with a mother and infant son who cannot sleep through the night. The mother accuses the son, her second child, of wanting to "get away with things" in the therapist's office. (The older child is a well-behaved happy child.) The therapist asks her to consider the fact that the son might be inviting her to play and have fun instead. She realizes she is very angry at her son for the hard pregnancy and difficult birth. She forgives her son and begins to enjoy playing with her son. The son calms down and sleeps through the night.
A mother from Jamaica feeds her reluctant 22 month old daughter for hours, just as she was fed for hours by her own mother. When her daughter does not eat the food she is served, the mother sits with her for hours at the table, late into the night feeding, hitting and arguing with her younger daughter. (The older daughter is a well-behaved, happy child.) In play therapy the mother is instructed to let the...