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Kaplan, N. (2017). Contributions of Attachment Research to Understanding Dissociative Attunement. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(5):609-620.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(5):609-620

Contributions of Attachment Research to Understanding Dissociative Attunement

Nancy Kaplan, Ph.D.

This discussion elaborates the author’s use of attachment theory and research to understanding Susan’s clinical process (see Jacobs, this issue). I have delineated different patterns of attachment, its precursors in infancy, both in infant parent interactions and in parent’s state of mind with respect to attachment. I also link this to how dissociative process can be embedded in a combination of infant disorganization and trauma. I think that clinical applications of the ideas Jacobs and I subscribe to add a great deal to understanding how unformulated experiences with a frightened and frightening parent can lead to a person’s vulnerability to developing dissociative responses to later trauma. The dialogic nature of infant parent attachment experiences can further enrich an understanding of how certain transferencecountertransference enactments are manifestations of certain kinds of procedural or relational knowing. In this way, clinicians can further understand the possibilities for psychic transformation as embedded in bearing that which was experienced but which cannot yet be known.

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