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Schwartz, J. (2015). Introduction. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(2):207.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2):207

Attachment: Clinical, Conceptual and Historical Themes


Joseph Schwartz

The three papers in this issue are inspired by the ‘Essentially Ours, Specifically …’ series published last year in the BJP. Written by authors who have devoted most of their working lives to bridging the gap between classical psychoanalysis and Bowlby's attachment theory, the papers reflect the concerns of each writer: Fonagy and Campbell build on attachment theory to create the theory of mentalization; Holmes summarizes and shows the relevance of attachment theory to clinical practice; I seek to bring Bowlby out of the cold by showing the deep roots of attachment ideas within psychoanalysis and show how Bowlby's marginalization has led to a dangerous clinical consequence.

Why now? It does seem like mood and sensibility are changing in psychoanalysis. Previously, dissident voices in psychoanalysis have led to splits. I would say that the early Adler and Jung splits produced a rejecting stance towards critical voices in psychoanalysis characterized by the accusation: ‘That's not psychoanalysis’. In 1974 Anna Freud resisted the relational turn as not being psychoanalytic: ‘Psychoanalysis is above all a drive psychology. But for some reason people do not want that’ (cited in Schwartz, 1999, p. 244).

Could we say that psychoanalysis is going through a paradigm shift? Paradigm shifts are not the relatively simple matters introduced by Thomas Kuhn where long periods of normal science are followed by brief periods of revolutionary science.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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