1st Edition

The Internal World and Attachment

ISBN 9781138009820
Published June 23, 2015 by Routledge
352 Pages

USD $62.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

How, asks Geoff Goodman in The Internal World and Attachment, can we progress further in integrating the fruits of attachment research with the accumulated clinical wisdom of psychoanalytic theorizing about the internal world of object representations?  The key, he answers, is to look more closely at the basic assumptions of each body of theory, especially those assumptions, whether embedded or explicit, that bear on the formation of psychic structure.  Drawing on Kernberg's insights into the affective and instinctual substrata of psychic organizations, Goodman proposes that insecure attachment categories can be correlated with particular constellations of self and object representations.  Such convergences provide a springboard to further theoretical explanations, most especially to the relations between attachment and adult sexual behavior.  Indeed, one outstanding feature of Goodman's proposals is the light they cast on various forms and meanings of sexual psychopathology, as he delineates how both promiscuity and retreats from sexual intimacy can be differentially interpreted depending on the patient's pattern of attachment.
Destined to provoke lively debate, The Internal World and Attachment is a powerfully informative attempt to go beyond the researcher's view of attachment as a motivational system.  For Goodman, attachment is informed by an internal logic that reflects fantasies and defense, and an appreciation of the interaction of attachment pattern with various constellations of self and object representations can deepen our understanding of the internal world in clinically consequential ways.  Keeping his eye resolutely on the clinical texture of attachment observations and the clinical phenomenology expressive of internal object relations, Goodman provides the reader with an experience-near basis for viewing two influential bodies of knowledge as complementary avenues for apprehending the internal meaning of externally observable behavior.   

Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Purposes of Integrating Object Relations Constructs and Attachment Constructs3. Brief Overview of Object Relations Theory4. Brief Overview of Attachment Theory5. Points of Comparison and Contrast Between the Two Theories6. Object Relations Theory's View of Internal Working Models7. Attachment Theory's View of Object Representations8. Empirical Evidence Supporting the Conceptual Relatedness of Object Representations and Internal Working Models9. Object Representations and Internal Working Models: A Model for Understanding Their Structure and Function10. Object Representations and Internal Working Models: Clinical Implications of the Model for Object Relations Theory and Attachment Theory11. The Intergenerational Transmission of Mental Representations in Two Mother-Child Dyads12. Libido and Attachment: And They Shall Be One Flesh13. A Model for Understanding the Relation Between Libido and Attachment14. The Expression of Libido and Attachment in Clinical Practice15. The Internal World Meets External Reality: Final Thoughts on the Internal World and Attachment 

View More



Geoff Goodman, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology, Long Island University, and holds adjunct faculty positions at Columbia University and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.  He is an advanced candidate in the child and adult programs at the Psychoanalytic Institute of the New York Freudian Society.


"In this most thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Goeff Goodman tackles what may well be the outstanding unsolved problem in contemporary psychoanalytic theory.  Attachment research and the accumulated clincal understanding of self and object representations constitute two important bodies of knowledge.  But how to put them together?  Goodman possesses the clinical eye and the reseach acumen to make sense of the imposing literatures on both sides of the aisle; he also possesses the intellectual daring to propose an innovative model for integrating the insights of both traditions.  Packed with acute discussions and fertile observations, The Internal World and Attachment represents a watershed.  The search for a unified theory of psychic development suitable for clinical work is now officially begun."

- John Kerr, Ph.D., Co-Editor, Attachment Theory

"An exhaustive and definitive exploration of the interface of object relations theory and attachment research.  Goodman provides an excellent critical appraisal of all past attempts at integration and offers one of his own that establishes him as a major theoretician in this field."

- Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis, University College, London