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Cohen, D. (2013). Argentina: Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience Chapter of the Argentine Psychoanalytical Association. Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):108.

(2013). Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):108

Argentina: Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience Chapter of the Argentine Psychoanalytical Association

Diego Cohen

During the second half of the year, the members of the chapter engaged in the epistemological project of attempting to integrate theories from different fields of knowledge and apply them to psychopathology: the attachment model (Bowlby, 1980), the cognitive model (Beck, 1967), and a neuroscience model of bottom-up and top-down regulatory-circuit involvement in depressive disorders (Disner, Beevers, Haigh, & Beck, 2011). This report outlines some of the results of this integration.

For Bowlby, depressive disorders originate from representational schemes formed during early psychological development. These schemes are biographical memories of relationships that figure in a child's attachment to its objects (customarily, its parents). These memories date back to real experiences of abandonment during some stages of attachment.

The Beck et al. model also recognizes the existence of a series of negative representations of self, called self-referential depressive schemes, which are triggered by environmental factors in vulnerable individuals. These factors somehow invoke the depressive elements in the patient's mind and result in behavior, emotions, and bodily symptoms, which resonate with the depressive schemes. Unlike Bowlby, Beck makes no reference to the early origin of these schemes as a result of the patient's interaction with unsuitable figures of attachment.

From the neurobiological viewpoint, the essence of the activation of these depressive mental representations is located in “imbalances” in cortical-subcortical activity (subcortical hyperactivation and prefrontal hypoactivation).

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