chapter  10
16 Pages

The self and its objects in developmental trauma

This chapter constitutes a tour de force in the art of combining theoretical and behavioral observations, taken from the work of Bowlby and other attachment researchers, and clinical observations, derived from the use of sustained empathic inquiry. Noting that Kohut and Bowlby both believed that actual trauma experienced in child-caregiver relationships was central in pathological personality formation, Brandchaft joins this “brotherhood” by linking the psychological impact of traumatic attachment interactions to the phenomena he observes in systems of pathological accommodation. The result is an extraordinary broadening of the reach of empathic inquiry, as Brandchaft shows how the enmeshment derived from the traumatic attachment bonds described by researchers reappears in analysis as automatized procedural responses occurring in the moment-to-moment interaction that persistently undercut the patient’s ability to rely on his own affective cues and his own self-reflection.