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The Replacement Child


Saturday, 7 October 2023
11am to 1pm

TITLE:                 “The Replacement Child”
SPEAKERS:       Kristina Schellinski and Dr Zack Eleftheriadou


Children and adults can suffer from being born into a family that experienced the loss of a child or other dear member of the family. The attachment is disrupted at the core level when the child is born in the shadow of the loss. Therefore, attachment becomes a structural element to consider in replacement children, in the early years and later in adult life.

This can lead to a hidden, long-term trauma which manifests in low self-esteem, a search for identity, relational issues due to insecure, avoidant, or even hostile-rejecting styles of attachment.

This diagnosis is often overlooked, due to family secrets, loyalties or unawareness of the circumstances, with manifold defenses, in both patient and care-provider. To help recognize and work clinically with this, I shall illustrate the core elements with symbols, images and clinical examples. Therapists and analysts can make a major contribution accompanying them ‘back to life’ and to help prevent the ‘making’ of replacement children.

Psychologically, the hope for an adult replacement child lies in the rediscovery of the essence of its original being. In the individuation process, adult replacement children can gain a deep understanding of the long-term consequences of their replacing role and reconnect with their own unique individual self, to discover: “this is who I am”.


Kristina Schellinski,

M.A., Analytical Psychologist/Psychotherapist, Teaching Analyst and Supervisor, C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich.

She is also a Supervisor at the Department of Psychiatry of the Geneva University Hospital, Member of the International Association of Analytical Psychologists (IAAP) and of the Swiss Association of Psychotherapists (ASP). She has published articles in international journals and presented papers at international and national congresses and conferences, and offers training in English, French and German. She is a co-founder of the replacementchildforum.com and its Director of Programs; the website is offering resources to health professionals and adult replacement children.

Dr Zack Eleftheriadou

BPS/HPCP Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Zack is BPS/HPCP Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Fellow, a Parent-infant, Child and Adult Psychotherapist (UKCP). She works in private practice in North London with young people and adults. She is a lecturer and infant obs tutor at AGIP and IATE in London. She is a member of The Bowlby Centre and has a long-standing affiliation with the Centre, including guest teaching. As a clinician, she is particularly interested in the ‘replacement child’ dynamics and has previously curated an event on this topic for Confer. She is interested in early intervention and has contributed to The Replacement Forum (see: http://replacementchildforum.com/the-replacement-child-early-intervention-for-babies-and-their-families/) and also on the impact of this early experience in adulthood. Other professional interests include cross-cultural, trauma work and developmental issues in psychotherapy.

Date:                      Saturday, 7 October 2023
Time:                     11.00am – 1.00pm  
Cost:                      £30
                               £10 for students from another training organization                         (Bowlby Centre members and students – free)
CPD:                       2 hours (CPD certificate provided)
Book and pay online here.

NEXT MONTH’S CLINICAL FORUM: Narcissism: where should we begin? By Barry Christie

Psychotherapists need to unmask narcissism in all its forms and work towards understanding its dynamic impact upon human development, relationships, and culture. The origins, features and consequences of narcissistic abuse will be discussed; reference will also be made to online coverage of the subject. Clinical themes will be explored with participants encouraged to share their experiences and discuss key questions.


The Bowlby Centre welcomes applications from all sectors of the community and respects and values difference in age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

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