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Gullestad, S.E. (2001). Attachment theory and psychoanalysis: controversial issues. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(1):3-16.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(1):3-16

Attachment theory and psychoanalysis: controversial issues

Siri Erika Gullestad, Ph.D.

On the present theoretical arena of psychoanalysis, attachment theory has obtained increasing attention, especially from psychoanalysts interested in empirical research. This paper presents the controversies raised by Bowlby's theory, and discusses the relationship between attachment theory and psychoanalysis. Although Freud and Bowlby differ in their image of Man, ideas developed within attachment theory have parallels in those of psychoanalytic object relation theories, both with regard to the conceptualisation of motivation and the understanding of the origins of psychological disturbances. As regards therapy, the emphasis on the “emotional availability” of the analyst is highlighted. It is concluded that Bowlby's theory does not, however, contribute specifically to analytic technique. Bowlby's main concern is the interpersonal and traumatic origins of psychological disturbances, rather than the patient's fantasies and constructions of narratives.

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