A responsive, nurturing milieu for the developing child, including physical holding as well as the mother's or primary caregiver's preoccupation with the child and her ability to soothe, comfort, and reduce the tension in her infant.  Ideally, the mother reflects back the child's worth and value and in other ways responds appropriately to his or her needs.  Lack of such responsivity is often termed empathic failure.  In the psychotherapeutic (see psychotherapy) relationship, holding environment refers to a therapeutic ambiance or setting that permits the patient to experience safety, thereby facilitating psychotherapeutic work.

Source: Edgerton, Jane E. 1994. American Psychiatric Glossary, 7th Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press











   

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