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Buchholz, E.S. Chinlund, C. (1994). En Route to a Harmony of Being: Viewing Aloneness as a Need in Development and Child Analytic Work. Psychoanal. Psychol., 11(3):357-374.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 11(3):357-374

En Route to a Harmony of Being: Viewing Aloneness as a Need in Development and Child Analytic Work

Ester S. Buchholz, Ph.D. and Caroline Chinlund, Ph.D.

The construct aloneness, proposed as a basic-level human need, parallel to and of the same valency as attachment, is viewed in the process of development over the life span. We suggest that focus on attachment and object relations has kept the regulatory function of detachment, and thus aloneness, in partial eclipse. Borrowing from the discourse of psycholinguistics, aloneness is viewed as the unmarked member of a pair of antonyms, aloneness/loneliness, rather than as the marked member of the pair, attached/alone. The contributions of psychoanalysts across models and infant researchers are recalled in the service of tracing the presence of an aloneness need. We offer examples from psychoanalytic child treatments to illustrate the juxtaposition of aloneness and attachment in analytic discourse at successive developmental stages.

I do this and I do that

I go here and I go there

At times I like to be alone….

“Near the Window Tree,”

Karla Kuskin (1980)

Except perhaps in children's literature, aloneness has not been enthroned as a psychological need in the same way as attachment.

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