Understanding the concept of the attachment theory

Such individuals act on impulse with little regard for the consequences of their actions. For example, showing no guilt for antisocial behavior. Robertson and Bowlby believe that short-term separation from an attachment figure leads to distress i.

Understanding the concept of the attachment theory

This perspective of psychoanalysis was dominant in America for approximately a year span until the s. Meanwhile, in Europe, various theoretical approaches had been developed. Current Psychoanalytic Treatment Approaches Today, the ego psychology that was dominant in American psychoanalytic thought for so many years has been significantly modified and is also currently strongly influenced by the developing relational point of view.

The diverse schools of therapeutic approach currently operative in America include influences from British object relationists, "modern Freudians", the theories of Klein and Bion, self-psychology, the Lacanians, and more. Truly, a kaleidoscope of approaches is now available at psychoanalytic institutions in the United States.

Many psychoanalysts believe that the human experience can be best accounted for by an integration of these perspectives. Whatever theoretical perspective a psychoanalyst employs, the fundamentals of psychoanalysis are always present—an understanding of transference, an interest in the unconscious, and the centrality of the psychoanalyst-patient relationship in the healing process.

Attachment Theory The term "attachment" is used to describe the affective feeling-based bond that develops between an infant and a primary caregiver. The father of attachment theory, John Bowlby, M. It is important to note that attachment is not a one-way street. As the caregiver affects the child, the child also affects the caregiver.

Transference Transference is a concept that refers to our natural tendency to respond to certain situations in unique, predetermined ways--predetermined by much earlier, formative experiences usually within the context of the primary attachment relationship.

These patterns, deeply ingrained, arise sometimes unexpectedly and unhelpfully--in psychoanalysis, we would say that old reactions constitute the core of a person's problem, and that he or she needs to understand them well in order to be able to make more useful choices.

Transference is what is transferred to new situations from previous situations. Freud coined the word "transference" to refer to this ubiquitous psychological phenomenon, and it remains one of the most powerful explanatory tools in psychoanalysis today—both in the clinical setting and when psychoanalysts use their theory to explain human behavior.


Transference describes the tendency for a person to base some perceptions and expectations in present day relationships on his or her earlier attachments, especially to parents, siblings, and significant others.

Because of transference, we do not see others entirely objectively but rather "transfer" onto them qualities of other important figures from our earlier life.

Thus transference leads to distortions in interpersonal relationships, as well as nuances of intensity and fantasy.

Adult Attachment Theory and Research

The psychoanalytic treatment setting is designed to magnify transference phenomena so that they can be examined and untangled from present day relationships. These experiences can range from a fear of abandonment to anger at not being given to fear of being smothered and feelings of One common type of transference is the idealizing transference.

We have the tendency to look towards doctors, priests, rabbis, and politicians in a particular way—we elevate them but expect more of them than mere humans. Psychoanalysts have a theory to explain why we become so enraged when admired figures let us down.

The concept of transference has become as ubiquitous in our culture as it is in our psyches. But this explanatory concept is constantly in use. For example, in season three of the television series Madmen, one of the female leads is romantically drawn to a significantly older man just after her father dies.

She sees him as extraordinarily competent and steady.

44 Thieves Study (Bowlby, 1944)

Some types of coaching and self-help techniques use transference in a manipulative way, though not necessarily negatively.

Essentially, this person accepts the transference as omnipotent parent and uses this power to tell the client what to do.

Understanding the concept of the attachment theory

Often the results obtained are short lived. Resistance Along with transference, resistance is one of the two cornerstones of psychoanalysis.

Attachment Theory and the Healing Psychotherapy Relationship

As uncomfortable thoughts and feelings begin to get close to the surface--that is, become conscious--a patient will automatically resist the self-exploration that would bring them fully into the open, because of the discomfort associated with these powerful emotional states that are not registered as memories, but experienced as fully contemporary—transferences.

The patient is thus experiencing life at too great an intensity because he or she is burdened by transferences or painful emotions derived from another source, and must use various defenses resistances to avoid their full emotional intensity.

These resistances can take the form of suddenly changing the topic, falling into silence, or trying to discontinue the treatment altogether. As the analysis progresses, patients may begin to feel less threatened and more capable of facing the painful things that first led them to analysis.

In other words, they may begin to overcome their resistance.Adult "attachment" in the form of a deep psychotherapy relationship can lead to significant healing, years after a failed attachment during infancy. Attachment is an emotional bond that impacts behavior throughout life.

Understanding the concept of the attachment theory

Learn more about the different styles of attachment and the role they play. "This book opens up the 'black box' of attachment study for practicing clinicians of all stripes.

Grounded in cutting-edge research, and rich in clinical material, the volume both anchors the reader in the core elements of attachment theory and research and brings alive the multiple and diverse implications of this work for the therapeutic enterprise."--Arietta Slade, PhD, Doctoral Program in.

Attachment is a theory about danger and how we organize in the face of it Crittenden and Clausson We hear a lot about ‘attachment’ and its important in care proceedings. Attachment theory is a concept in developmental psychology that concerns the importance of "attachment" in regards to personal development.

Specifically, it makes the claim that the ability for an individual to form an emotional and physical "attachment" to another person gives a sense of stability.

"A book unique in exploring applications of place attachment theory and research to such topics as global climate change, mobility studies, public housing redevelopment, intergroup conflict, nature resource management, environmental criminology, pro-environmental behavior and civic engagement.".

Attachment theory - Wikipedia