Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Developmental Psychology
Psychoanalytic theory is in many respects a theory of human development. Although psychodynamic models of personality and psychopathology have long influenced many areas of developmental psychology, the reverse is increasingly evident today. Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Developmental Psychology explores the growing areas of mutual influence between psychoanalytic theory and the study of human development—the impact of object relations theory on the study of infant–caretaker attachment being only one significant example.
This volume explores the shift in the psychodynamic conceptualization of the infant–caretaker relationship toward the active role of the child, and the reciprocal influence between parent and child—and, by extension, between therapist and patient. Developmental psychologists now use the language of object relations theory to describe how psychoanalytic thinking has shaped studies of identity development and the construction of self-concept.
The empirical research examined in the volume highlights the expansion of psychoanalytic theory from infant and child development to a life span view, recognizing important developmental milestones throughout adolescence and adulthood and into the realm of aging. The book's contributors extend psychoanalytic theory into a variety of areas: mother-infant interaction, the evolving concept of "illusory mental health," the function of cognition and affect in creativity, and the increasingly clear role of hostility in suicide among younger and older adults.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of psychoanalytic theory and its supporting research, as well as on the rich interface between psychoanalytic and developmental traditions of study.