Major Movements in Psychology

Psychoanalytic Theory

How has psychoanalytic theory changed over the years?

There have been many developments in psychoanalysis. In contemporary psychoanalysis, the schools of object relations, self psychology, and relational theory have translated Freud’s original ideas into interpersonal terms. The emphasis has shifted from sexual instincts to consideration of how early childhood relationships affect adults’ capacity to relate to others and manage emotions. Principles from attachment theory and ideas about self-reflective functioning (as found in the work of Peter Fonagy and Mary Target) have also informed contemporary psychoanalysis. Arguably, the integration of psychoanalytic concepts with advances in neuroscience currently forms the cutting edge of psychoanalytic theory.


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