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Hamilton, V. (1987). Some Problems in the Clinical Application of Attachment Theory. Psychoanal. Psychother., 3(1):67-83.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 3(1):67-83

Some Problems in the Clinical Application of Attachment Theory

Victoria Hamilton

This paper addresses some of the problems which arise when attempts are made to apply research findings to clinical work. The problem of the relevance of research to psychoanalysis is a general one and arises in relation to findings from related areas such as infancy, child development, bereavement etc. In this paper, the author tries to pinpoint some specific areas of difficulty in integrating concepts from attachment theory as developed by Dr fohn Bowlby into the clinical situation. Three areas of conflict are delineated relating to essential differences in skill (including personality), task and setting. Particular emphasis is placed upon the dynamics of the transference relationship and its destabilising effects on a patient's sense of security as this has become lodged in his defensive system. These thoughts were stimulated by a workshop conducted by the author at the International Attachment Conference held in Regents College on 26-27 June 1987 to celebrate Dr Bowlby's eightieth birthday.

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