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4 Pages

Commentary (GW) on Chapter Two: Attachment and new beginnings

ByJonathan Pedder

In Chapter One, the anecdote about the blurring of the audience and the cast in a performance of Equus at the National Theatre brings to the fore the question of boundaries and the therapeutic space. In this chapter, Pedder revisits this in a more technical discussion of aspects of attachment in the process of therapy. He begins by building theory that links the work of Michael Balint with the better known research of John Bowlby. In particular, the similarities between Bowlby’s work on problem “attachment patterns” and Balint’s observations of “basic fault” and “clinging” are drawn. In connecting Balint and Bowlby, Pedder locates Bowlby along the trajectory of the “independent school” of psychoanalysis. Pedder marks his own point of departure from Freud’s assertion that therapeutic relationships are keyed by erotic affiliation, because, in the end, Pedder favours Bowlby’s formulations, based on the bonds of attachment, where love, security, and anxiety are more prominent than the Freudian erotic. The rub of the debate oscillates around a case account which highlights how disruption of attachment during childhood can be manifest in depression in adult life. In this case study, Pedder demonstrates how therapy offers a reparative synthesis and a new attachment.