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Casement, A. (2002). FONAGY, PETER. Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press, 2001. Pp. vi + 261. Pbk $30. 00; £22. 50.. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(3):505-507.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(3):505-507

FONAGY, PETER. Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press, 2001. Pp. vi + 261. Pbk $30. 00; £22. 50.

Review by:
Ann Casement

‘There is bad blood between psychoanalysis and attachment theory. As with many family feuds, it is hard to identify where the problem began’. It is with this straightforward statement that Peter Fonagy begins his account of the two disciplines in his new book Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. The book is an attempt to bridge the two and if anyone can achieve that it would be Fonagy, who straddles them ‘like a colossus’.

The book starts with an account of the unfair accusations made by each against the other. Psychoanalysts declared themselves to be anti Bowlby's views because they thought them reductionist in their emphasis on evolutionary considerations and lacking in richness and explanatory power. In his turn, Bowlby accused psychoanalysis of being a single-track theory compared to the diversity of developmental pathways branching out from attachment theory's main route. Fonagy disagrees with both these views in seeing them as tendentious and joins with other writers like Jeremy Holmes and Morris Eagle in making integrative attempts between the two disciplines. He goes further in stating that there would have been no need for his volume if Bowlby's ideas had led to a new psychoanalytic school.

In 1969, the first of Bowlby's three volumes entitled Attachment and Loss claimed that proximity was the goal of the attachment system - the physical absence of the attachment figure generated biological need; her return and proximity turned it off. Psychoanalysts were horrified by this approach, seeing it as synonymous with the worst excesses of behavioural reductionism.

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