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Carney, J.K. (2002). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(3):299-306.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(3):299-306

Prologue

Jean K. Carney, Ph.D.

Self-Regulation is the use of Interpersonally Developing Capacity to modulate states of arousal and to organize behavior in meaningful, predictable ways. Psychoanalysis provides a particularly apt method for the study of self-regulation because it encourages the interweaving of multiple understandings in the service of making sense of the experience of the whole person. As Basch 1988 foresaw, psychoanalysis is uniquely positioned because it can draw on the many biological and psychological disciplines necessary for understanding how humans learn to think and to interact. Psychoanalysis also brings its distinctive contribution, a focus on the individual's own felt experience.

This issue of Psychoanalytic Inquiry presents seven papers that deal with the development of self-regulatory systems. Five of the papers focus on a single disorder of self-regulation, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).

The papers represent a range of psychoanalytic perspectives and rhetorical styles. In some ways the authors differ in how they think and work, but they are alike in sharing the assumption that the development of neural tissue is motivated. They share an understanding that the development of the nervous system involves the expression of genes in the context of idiosyncratic, interpersonal interactions. They agree that understanding the development of self-regulation requires an understanding of the development of the brain.

The seven authors draw on psychoanalysis, but, collectively, they also draw on developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, neurobiology, neurophysiology, and the new field of neuropsychoanalysis. And they do so in a way that privileges neither psychoanalysis nor the other disciplines.

Peter Fonagy and Mary Target are in the forefront of efforts to integrate the complexities in the relationship between psychoanalysis and attachment theory.

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