Commentary: "A Fundamental Polarity in Psychoanalysis: Implications for Personality Development, Psychopathology, and the Therapeutic Process" by Sidney J. Blatt

Kenneth N. Levy, Kevin B. Meehan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

A commentary on Dr. Sidney J. Blatt's article, "A Fundamental Polarity in Psychoanalysis: Implications for Personality Development, Psychopathology, and the Therapeutic Process" is presented by articulating Dr. Blatt's significant contribution to psychoanalysis, developmental and attachment theory, and therapeutic process research. According to Blatt's theory, normal maturation involves a complex reciprocal transaction between two developmental lines throughout the life cycle: (a) the establishment of stable, enduring, mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships and (b) the achievement of a differentiated, stable, and cohesive identity. He has applied this theory to understand both normal and pathological psychological phenomena, the latter resulting from disruptions in these developmental lines, resulting in an overemphasis on relational (anaclitic) or self-definitional (introjective) issues. Further, Dr. Blatt has evaluated his theoretical model through empirical study and demonstrated that relationally oriented and self-definitionally oriented persons have differential responses to psychotherapy. Finally, areas of question and potential for future research are outlined. Specifically, it is argued that although anaclitic and introjective configurations are easy to discuss as distinct types, relevant evidence from attachment theory raises the issue of whether these types may be better conceptualized as dimensions, with different configurations located within two-dimensional space. Further, findings of a group evidencing mixed anaclitic and introjective features raise additional questions about how these configurations relate to one another, and evidence from the attachment literature is used to shed light on this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-548
Number of pages13
JournalPsychoanalytic Inquiry
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology

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