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Int J Psychoanal. 2014 Oct;95(5):843-64. doi: 10.1111/1745-8315.12205.

Affect regulation: holding, containing and mirroring.

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Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, 2A Oester Farimagsgade, DK - 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark.


Gergely and colleagues' state that their "Social Biofeedback Theory of Parental Affect Mirroring" can be seen as a kind of operationalization of the classical psychoanalytic concepts of holding, containing and mirroring. This article examines to what extent the social biofeedback theory of parental affect mirroring may be understood as a specification of these concepts. It is argued that despite similarities at a descriptive level the concepts are embedded in theories with different ideas of subjectivity. Hence an understanding of the concept of affect regulation as a concretization and specification of the classical concepts dilutes the complexity of both the concept of affect regulation and of the classical concepts.


affect regulation; bulimia nervosa; containing; holding; mirroring

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