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Giannopoulou, I. Lazaratou, H. Economou, M. Dikeos, D. (2019). Converging Psychoanalytic and Neurobiological Understanding of Autism: Promise for Integrative Therapeutic Approaches. Psychodyn. Psych., 47(3):275-290.
  

(2019). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 47(3):275-290

Converging Psychoanalytic and Neurobiological Understanding of Autism: Promise for Integrative Therapeutic Approaches

Ioanna Giannopoulou, Helen Lazaratou, Marina Economou and Dimitris Dikeos

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities. For many years, psychoanalysis and neurobiology have been in opposite camps regarding the understanding of autism in terms of causation and treatment. This paper aims to highlight converging points between neurobiological and psychodynamic understanding of autism, which could be useful in designing more effective early interventions. For this purpose, we give a brief overview of the psychoanalytic conceptualization of autism since its first description as well as present the most pertinent neurobiological findings underlying the disorder; both these approaches are pointing to a dysfunction in caregiver-child interactions. In the last few decades, the convergence of the psychoanalytical with the neurobiological perspectives of the disorder enhances further our understanding of the dynamic interplay among biological and psychological processes in autism. This integrative approach, grounded in both theoretical perspectives, could inform future research focusing on interpersonal neurobiology, but also provide a base for developing multi-level and multi-component early interventions, which should start as early as possible, most appropriately during infancy.

[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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