The Origins of Attachment

Infant Research and Adult Treatment

By Beatrice Beebe, Frank M. Lachmann

© 2014 – Routledge

232 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415898188
pub: 2013-11-18
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About the Book

The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment addresses the origins of attachment in mother-infant face-to-face communication. New patterns of relational disturbance in infancy are described. These aspects of communication are out of conscious awareness. They provide clinicians with new ways of thinking about infancy, and about nonverbal communication in adult treatment.

Utilizing an extraordinarily detailed microanalysis of videotaped mother-infant interactions at 4 months, Beatrice Beebe, Frank Lachmann, and their researchcollaboratorsprovide a more fine-grained and precise description of the process of attachment transmission. Second-by-second microanalysis operates like a social microscope and reveals more than can be grasped with the naked eye.

The book explores how, alongside linguistic content, the bodily aspect of communication is an essential component of the capacity to communicate and understand emotion. The moment-to-moment self- and interactive processes of relatedness documented in infant research form the bedrock of adult face-to-face communication and provide the background fabric for the verbal narrative in the foreground.

The Origins of Attachment is illustrated throughout with several case vignettes of adult treatment. Discussions by Carolyn Clement, Malcolm Slavin and E. Joyce Klein, Estelle Shane, Alexandra Harrison and Stephen Seligman show how the research can be used by practicing clinicians. This book details aspects of bodily communication between mothers and infants that will provide useful analogies for therapists of adults. It will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and graduate students.

Collaborators Joseph Jaffe, Sara Markese, Karen A. Buck, Henian Chen, Patricia Cohen, Lorraine Bahrick, Howard Andrews, Stanley Feldstein

DiscussantsCarolyn Clement, Malcolm Slavin, E. Joyce Klein, Estelle Shane, Alexandra Harrison, Stephen Seligman

Reviews

Over the past three decades, no one has been more successful in building bridges between academic developmental research and contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice than Beatrice Beebe and Frank Lachmann. This is the case because there is a perfect match these authors’ focus on the impact of early mother-infant interaction patterns and contemporary psychoanalysis’s emphasis on the constitutive relational contexts of all things clinical. The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment is a beautiful and persuasive case in point, documenting how patterns of relatedness between mother and infant provide parallels and analogies for patient-therapist face-to-face interactions in the adult treatment setting. I highly recommend this book to any psychoanalytic therapist who wishes to find an empirical research grounding for his or her clinical thinking and work. - Robert D. Stolorow, PhD, Author, World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011)

"This, book, rooted in one of the most influential and creative research programs in our field, demonstrates in rare fashion how developmental research can contribute significantly to therapeutic practice, not only with mothers and infants but with adults. Showing a noteworthy appreciation of the ways that unconscious processes can be coded at the procedural rather than declarative level and of the ways that the shaping of personal experience is ongoingly mutual and reciprocal, not simply a matter of once and for all internalizations, this is a book that will reward reading and re-reading by researchers and clinicians alike." - Paul L. Wachtel is CUNY Distinguished Professor at City College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Table of Contents

Part I: Mother-infant Communication and Adult Treatment. Beebe, Lachmann, The Origins of Relatedness: Film Illustrations. Beebe, Lachmann, The Organization of Relational Experience in Early Infancy. Beebe, Lachmann, The Origins of Relatedness in Disorganized Attachment: Our Approach. Beebe, Lachmann, Infant Disorganized Attachment, Young Adult Outcomes, and Adult Treatment.Part II. Mother-Infant Communication, the Origins of Attachment, and Implications for Adult Treatment. Beebe, Lachmann, Future Secure Dyads. Beebe, Lachmann, Future Resistant Dyads. Beebe, Lachmann, Future Disorganized Dyads. Beebe, Lachmann, Discussion: Mother-infant Communication, the Origins of Attachment and Adult Treatment. Part III. Discussants:Relevance of the Research to Child and Adult Treatment. Clement, Ronald Fairbairn’s Theory of Object Relations and the Microanalysis of Mother-Infant Interaction: A Mutual Enrichment. Slavin and Klein, Probing to Know and Be Known: Existential and Evolutionary Perspectives on the Disorganized Patent’s Relationship with the Analyst. Shane, On Knowing and Being Known: The Case of Oliver. Harrison,Imagining Chloe in Infancy. Seligman,From Microsecond to Psychic Structure.

About the Authors

Beatrice Beebe is Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry), College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute; faculty at the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center, the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, and the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

Frank M. Lachmann is a teacher, supervisor, and a member of the Founding Faculty of the Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity, New York; and a Clinical Assistant Professor, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY004000
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child
PSY026000
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis