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Diamond, D. Blatt, S.J. (1999). Epilogue. Psychoanal. Inq., 19(4):662-667.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(4):662-667


Diana Diamond, Ph.D., Editor and Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D., Editor

This issue demonstrates that attachment-based theory and research are rapidly expanding the boundaries of psychoanalysis, in both theory and practice. The current engagement of psychoanalysts with attachment research is consistent with the long-standing tradition of integrating child and infant observation and research into psychoanalytic thought. The papers in this issue consider the intersection and divergence between attachment theory and psychoanalysis in an attempt to deepen the dialogue between them. The goal is not to collapse one theory into the other, but to move the discourse into a realm where the essential and irreducible differences between the two traditions are clarified and potential points of contact and overlap are explored, with the view toward developing multidimensional perspectives on theory, research, and clinical practice that encompass both traditions. Indeed, the papers in this issue demonstrate that attachment and psychoanalytic researchers and theorists are still struggling to define their own territory, as well as to identify a common meeting ground. Nonetheless, these papers illustrate that attachment research provides empirically derived data that support important aspects of psychoanalytic theory such as the early developmental antecedents of adult interpersonal relations and the importance of the representational world. A number of papers in this issue call for a reconsideration of psychoanalytic concepts of transference, resistence, motivation, and therapeutic action, as Fonagy, Lichtenberg, and Lyons-Ruth have pointed out. We expect the theoretical debates around these concepts will continue and lead to further discoveries in the laboratory and in the consulting room.

The clinical explorations and concepts of psychoanalysts continue to pose challenges to aspects of attachment theory, just as the research findings of attachment investigators suggest revisions or amplifications of psychoanalytic concepts.

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