Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment (Relational Perspectives Book Series)

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9780415880022: Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment (Relational Perspectives Book Series)

The recent explosion of new research about infants, parental care, and infant-parent relationships has shown conclusively that human relationships are central motivators and organizers in development. Relationships in Development examines the practical implications for dynamic psychotherapy with both adults and children, especially following trauma. Stephen Seligman offers engaging examples of infant-parent interactions as well as of psychotherapeutic process. He traces the place of childhood and child development in psychoanalysis from Freud onward, showing how different images about babies evolved and influenced analytic theory and practice.

Relationships in Development offers a new integration of ideas that updates established psychoanalytic models in a new context: "Relational-developmental psychoanalysis." Seligman integrates four crucial domains:

  • Infancy Research, including attachment theory and research
  • Developmental Psychoanalysis
  • Relational/intersubjective Psychoanalysis
  • Classical Freudian, Kleinian and Object Relations theories (including Winnicott)

An array of specific sources are included: Developmental neuroscience, attachment theory and research, studies of emotion, trauma and infant-parent interaction, and nonlinear dynamic systems theories. Although new psychoanalytic approaches are featured, the classical theories are not neglected, including the Freudian, Kleinian, Winnicottian, and Ego Psychology orientations. Seligman links current knowledge about early experiences and how they shape later development with the traditional psychoanalytic attention to the irrational, unconscious, turbulent and unknowable aspects of the mind and human interaction. These different fields are taken together to offer an open and flexible approach to psychodynamic therapy with a variety of patients in different socioeconomic and cultural situations.

Relationships in Development will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and graduate students in psychology, social work and psychotherapy. The fundamental issues and implications presented will also be of great importance to the wider psychodynamic and psychotherapeutic communities.

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About the Author:

Stephen Seligman is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco; Joint Editor-in-Chief of Psychoanalytic Dialogues; Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California; and Clinical Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. He is also co-editor of the American Psychiatric Press’ Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice.


"Stephen Seligman’s new book is a valuable contribution to the psychoanalytic dialogue concerning developmental theory and its implications for analytic practice. His discussion of "relational-developmental psychoanalysis" is without parallel. It seems to me to pick up where Greenberg and Mitchell’s 1983 classic, Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory, leaves off. He presents in a highly readable way a multi-disciplinary approach that includes direct infant observation, experience with patients in psychoanalysis, as well as social, historical and biological contributions. The result is a compelling study of twenty-first century psychoanalysis, which will enrich the perspectives of psychoanalysts and infant observers, as well as students of any field that takes as its object of study the human condition in all of its complexity."-Thomas H. Ogden, author most recently of Reclaiming Unlived Life: Experiences in Psychoanalysis and Creative Readings: Essays on Seminal Analytic Works.

"This is an outstanding book. It provides a masterly account of developments in psychoanalysis particularly in relation to its theories of childhood and development. The account leads toward relational analysis yet takes off in highly original directions in its discussion of the importance of puzzled and open attention and the implications for the development of the sense of time and of the future in patients filled with a sense of futility. The chapters on the link between temporality and intentionality are fascinating and need urgently to be read by all clinicians. The whole book is wonderfully clear in the way it links infant observation and psychoanalysis. It is also a great read."- Anne Alvarez, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist; retired Co-Convener of the Autism Service, Child and Family Dept., Tavistock Clinic, London; Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Centre of California.

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