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Br J Med Psychol. 1997 Sep;70 ( Pt 3):217-29.

Attachment and psychoanalysis.

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Derner Institute, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York 11530, USA.


This paper examines the relationship between certain aspects of attachment theory and psychoanalytic theories and practice. The specific issues discussed include the relative roles of 'real' external events 'versus' an individual's constitution and temperament in shaping an individual's internal working model; the relationship between attachment and sexuality; conceptions of factors that maintain maladaptive behaviour, including the intergenerational transmission of maladaptive patterns; assessment of attachment status as determined by responses to the Adult Attachment Interview; an understanding of the therapeutic situation in terms of the attachment concepts of secure base and exploration; the relative roles of secure base and exploration in dealing with different kinds of pathology; and finally, the degree to which attachment research and theory serves as a model for the meaningful study of complex human behaviour in a relatively rigorous manner.

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