chapter  1
16 Pages

Multiple voices versus meta-cognition: an attachment theory perspective

ByPETER FONAGY

Attachment theory concerns the nature of early experiences of children and the impact of these experiences on aspects of later functioning of particular relevance to personality disorder. The question we attempt to address here is how deprivation, in particular early trauma, comes to affect the individual's propensity to manifest multiple selves, to speak with multiple voices in therapy. As part of this question we are naturally also concerned to understand how such adverse consequences may affect the psychotherapeutic process. The key assumption made by the invoking of attachment theory is that individual social behaviour may be understood in terms of generic mental models of social relationships constructed by the individual. These models, although constantly evolving and subject to modi®cation, exist side by side and constitute the structures underlying the multiple voices of therapy. To elaborate on this point I will consider an attachment theory model of the most extreme of such phenomena: multiple selves in states of dissociation. Let us now turn to the details of the theory.