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Renn, P. (2017). Epilogue: Creative Attachments: Clinical Practice Through an Attachment Theory Lens. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(5):355.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(5):355


Epilogue: Creative Attachments: Clinical Practice Through an Attachment Theory Lens

Paul Renn, DSW

Having reread and reflected upon these articles, what strikes me most strongly is the idiosyncratically creative ways in which the authors combine attachment theory and research with their particular form of psychoanalysis, using this felicitous combination to inform their clinical work. This would seem to reflect both the universal, multifaceted aspects of human attachment and Wachtel’s contention that we all have our own Bowlby. By extension, it may also be argued that we all have our own version of psychoanalysis! In this context, I am reminded of Mitchell’s (1993) observation that what we see in the patient’s clinical material will inevitably be influenced by our own idiomatic thoughts, theories, and systems of ideas. That said, these articles, individually and collectively, suggest that embracing an attachment dimension can greatly enhance our understanding of our patients’ subjective experience and illustrate how this approach can productively inform our clinical work.

The articles also support the view that attachment theory should not be thought of as a theoretical model separate and distinct from psychoanalysis but, rather, as a psychoanalytic perspective. As Liotti points out, this is implicit in Bowlby’s own writing. Indeed, on the relatively sparse occasions that Bowlby wrote about the clinical applications of attachment theory, he repeatedly employed the term adopt when speaking of the therapist who might use attachment theory in his

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