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Holmes, J. (2015). Attachment Theory in Clinical Practice: A Personal Account. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(2):208-228.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2):208-228

Attachment Theory in Clinical Practice: A Personal Account

Jeremy Holmes, M.D., FRCPsych, BPC

Attachment theory was built by Bowlby as an attempt to link psychoanalysis with the wider world of ethology, cybernetics and evolutionary theory. Initially rejected by the psychoanalytic establishment there has been a gradual rapprochement. This paper attempts to accelerate this process by laying out the points of overlap and distinction between the attachment and psychoanalytic perspectives on clinical treatment. It summarizes the main tenets of attachment theory and then looks in detail at the therapeutic alliance, classification, transference/countertransference, and interpretation and mentalizing from an attachment perspective. A clinical example illustrates how insecure and secure attachment play out in the consulting room, and the paper ends by suggesting that attachment provides a suitable evidence base for the relational/Independent psychoanalytic approach.

[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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