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Slavin, M.O. (2006). Tanya and the Adaptive Dialectic of Romantic Passion and Secure Attachment. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(6):793-824.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(6):793-824

Tanya and the Adaptive Dialectic of Romantic Passion and Secure Attachment

Malcolm Owen Slavin, Ph.D.

My analytic work with Tanya illustrated one unique, heightened, individual version of a pervasive human conflict: the way in which erotic passion can be experienced as inherently conflicting with other relational bonds and broader values. In virtually every culture throughout human history, we find expressions of this tension between passionate Eros and other forms of love.

My clinical approach entails an openness to multiple analytic perspectives, including Mitchell's posthumous views in Can Love Last. In addition, I make use of a sensibility informed by evolutionary biology as a vantage point for understanding the individual struggle of patients like Tanya, as well as illuminating some of the larger issues about Eros and attachment. I suggest that romantic aspects of Eros may have evolved as part of a complex psychological system designed to deal with specifically human existential vulnerabilities and anxieties, as well as a way of challenging the inherent human tendency to over-accommodate to the subjective world of the other.

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