Abstracts

Anne Alvarez: “Future Perfect: Some reflections on the sense of anticipation in ordinary infants and in psychoanalytic work”

Anne shall try to extend some of her previous ideas on the importance of other people being able to dream of a child’s future, by examining additional features in the role of internal figures in the growing child’s or developing adult’s sense of the future. How does the future seem to beckon for some people and not for others? Clinical material from despairing and apathetic patients, together with observations of babies’ crawling and walking will be used to relate Bion’s theory of knowledge to Panksepp’s neuroscientific work on the Seeking System.

Anne Alvarez PhD, M.A.C.P. is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and retired Co-Convener of the Autism Service, Child and Family Department, Tavistock Clinic, London, where she still teaches. She is author of Live Company: Psychotherapy with Autistic, Borderline, Deprived and Abused Children. and has edited, with Susan Reid, Autism and Personality: Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshop. A book in her honour, edited by Judith Edwards, entitled Being Alive: Building on the Work of Anne Alvarez was published in 2002. She was Visiting Professor at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society in November 2005 and is an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Centre of California. Her latest book, The Thinking Heart: Three Levels of Psychoanalytic Therapy with Disturbed Children, was published in April 2012 by Routledge.

Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell, PhD. (Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki Makaurau, Ngāti Pōrou)

Keynote Address: “What support do kaumātua need at the end of life? Stories about people of advanced age through the eyes of their bereaved whānau carers”

How can health services provide the best care for Māori and non-Māori kaumātua of advanced age and their families and whānau who care for them? This presentation provides suggested improvements to whakamana (uplift the mana) (status and prestige) of kaumātua by providing excellent end of life care. Tess presents the key research findings from Te Pākeketanga, an HRC funded end of life study, about ageing, dying and family and whānau bereavement. A qualitative, Kaupapa Māori and constructivist research design was employed to interview 58 family carers on behalf of 52 older deceased people. Mixed methods were used in face-to-face interviews using a researcher-administered questionnaire. Research questions investigated the end of life circumstances, palliative care and bereavement experiences of family carers.

Tess is a Research Fellow for the Te Ārai Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group, School of Nursing, University of Auckland. Tess’s research interests include palliative care research with an emphasis on Māori and kaumātua. Tess would like to see whānau supported to provide well-resourced end of life care to an ill or dying family member. Tess sits on Hospice New Zealand’s Governance Board to develop the Foundations of Spiritual Care Training Programme which she recently helped to evaluate. She has worked as an ACC Registered Sexual Abuse Clinician in the BoP. Her PhD developed a post-colonial analysis of Māori women’s cultural hybridity. In 2017 she was awarded a Health Research Grant to lead the Pae Herenga study; this is a three year qualitative study to gather and share information about traditional Māori end of life customs. Together with her partner Nette, Tess runs Stars of Aroha, a small meditation business: www.starsofaroha.co.nz

Dr Sandhya Ramrakha: “Research Highlights from the Dunedin Study”

The ‘Dunedin Study’, short for The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, is a world renowned study led by Professor Richie Poulton, CNZM FRSNZ, at the University of Otago, New Zealand. A documentary on the Study titled ‘Why am I?’ was aired on TVNZ in 2016  and has been sold for distribution worldwide.

What is this study and why has it garnered such acclaim? It is one of the most detailed studies of human health and development ever undertaken. More than a thousand individuals have been followed from birth to now mid-life. The study is known for its remarkable retention rate (95% participated at the last assessment) and for the depth and breadth of the physical, psychological and psychosocial information collected on Study Members. With this information, the researchers have conducted work in areas such as:

  • What matters most: your genes or your environment for how you turn out?
  • The development of mental health disorders.
  • Can schizophrenia be predicted from symptoms in childhood?
  • Does smoking cannabis impact upon IQ?
  • How early can we identify individuals with antisocial traits that will persist across the life-course?
  • Self-control in childhood – does it have lifelong consequences?

It is now embarking on research to discover how we can have a healthy and productive old age.

Dr. Ramrakha will highlight some of these findings before concentrating on the childhood self-control and implications for adult life.

Dr Sandhya Ramrakha has been the Research Manager of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit which conducts the Dunedin Study since 2008. She first joined the study almost 20 years ago as the lead mental health interviewer, when she was in-between jobs. She had left a career in the New South Wales (Australia) Department of Corrections as a Senior Clinical Psychologist to start a new life in Dunedin with her Kiwi husband. This temporary position led to a research career beginning with a PhD using data from the Dunedin Study focussing on the links between mental and sexual health, with specific reference to risky sexual behaviour. Sandhya manages the assessment phases of the Dunedin Study and her current focus is ensuring the age 45 assessment (which is the most complex thus far) runs smoothly and is as successful as previous assessments.