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Reconciling Psychoanalytic Ideas with Attachment Theory

Fonagy, P; Luyten, P; Allison, E; Campbell, C; (2018) Reconciling Psychoanalytic Ideas with Attachment Theory. In: Shaver, P and Cassidy, J, (eds.) Handbook of Attachment. Guilford Press: New York, NY, United States. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The relationship between attachment theory and psychoanalysis, historically, has not been an easy one (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008; Eagle, 2013; Fonagy, 2001). But in recent years, developments in both fields have led to a growing rapprochement (Eagle, 2013; Holmes, 2009). Changes in psychoanalytic thinking have made it more accommodating of attachment thinking; conversely, aspects of the development of attachment findings, applications, and theory have made it more pertinent to psychoanalysis. In this chapter we examine the disagreements between psychoanalysis and attachment theory, and point to some of the two disciplines’ common foundations. We then describe an approach to the role of attachment in human development that considers it in relation to the capacity to mentalize, that is, to understand ourselves and others in terms of intentional mental states, and places both attachment and mentalizing in the context of the development of epistemic trust—the capacity to trust others as a source of knowledge about the world. This approach builds on some of Bowlby’s assumptions drawn from evolutionary biology, placing some of the better founded psychoanalytic criticisms of attachment theory in a different perspective. We suggest that this context allows the ongoing significance of Bowlby and Ainsworth’s thinking for the psychoanalytic project to be appreciated.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Reconciling Psychoanalytic Ideas with Attachment Theory
ISBN-13: 9781462536641
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions. © 2018. Copyright Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468808
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