chapter
11 Pages

Theory II

What is a “robust developmental perspective?”
WithSeligman Stephen

When I refer to a “robust developmental perspective,” I mean to ­capture the inclusive and integrative approach that applies a wide variety of sources and theories to core problems in psychoanalysis: the relations between past and present, change and continuity, repetition and novelty, the social and the individual, separateness and relatedness, the physiological and the psychological, and more. Developmental psychoanalysis is, as Erik Erikson (1950/1963, p. 359) wrote, “a way of looking at things” that includes an array of concepts, metaphors, and master narratives, and has drawn on a variety of discourses and disciplines, including clinical psychoanalyses and analytic theory, developmental research, direct experience with children and adolescents in their natural settings, cognitive and affective neuroscience, child and adult psychiatry, and infancy interventions. Current developmental psychoanalysis engages with a wide variety of phenomena—childhood events, unconscious phantasies, relationships past and present, families, historical movements of all sorts, institutions, emotions, brain configurations, cultures, and so on. How analytic groups and individual analysts orient to these matters has a substantial effect on theories of therapeutic action and clinical practice, both in each moment and more generalized thinking.