How, asks Geoff Goodman in The Internal World and Attachment, can we progress further in integrating the fruits of attachment research with the accumulated clinical wisdom of psychoanalytic theorizing about the internal world of object representations? The key, he answers, is to look more closely at the basic assumptions of each body of theory, especially those assumptions, whether embedded or explicit, that bear on the formation of psychic structure. Drawing on Kernberg's insights into the affective and instinctual substrata of psychic organizations, Goodman proposes that insecure attachment categories can be correlated with particular constellations of self and object representations. Such convergences provide a springboard to further theoretical explanations, most especially to the relations between attachment and adult sexual behavior. Indeed, one outstanding feature of Goodman's proposals is the light they cast on various forms and meanings of sexual psychopathology, as he delineates how both promiscuity and retreats from sexual intimacy can be differentially interpreted depending on the patient's pattern of attachment.
Destined to provoke lively debate, The Internal World and Attachment is a powerfully informative attempt to go beyond the researcher's view of attachment as a motivational system. For Goodman, attachment is informed by an internal logic that reflects fantasies and defense, and an appreciation of the interaction of attachment pattern with various constellations of self and object representations can deepen our understanding of the internal world in clinically consequential ways. Keeping his eye resolutely on the clinical texture of attachment observations and the clinical phenomenology expressive of internal object relations, Goodman provides the reader with an experience-near basis for viewing two influential bodies of knowledge as complementary avenues for apprehending the internal meaning of externally observable behavior.
Introduction. Purposes of Integrating Object Relations Constructs and Attachment Constructs. Brief Overview of Object Relations Theory. Brief Overview of Attachment Theory. Points of Comparison and Contrast Between the Two Theories. Object Relations Theory's View of Internal Working Models. Attachment Theory's View of Object Representations. Empirical Evidence Supporting the Conceptual Relatedness of Object Representations and Internal Working Models. Object Representations and Internal Working Models: A Model for Understanding Their Structure and Function. Object Representations and Internal Working Models: Clinical Implications of the Model for Object Relations Theory and Attachment Theory. The Intergenerational Transmission of Mental Representations in Two Mother-Child Dyads. Libido and Attachment: And They Shall Be One Flesh. A Model for Understanding the Relation Between Libido and Attachment. The Expression of Libido and Attachment in Clinical Practice. The Internal World Meets External Reality: Final Thoughts on the Internal World and Attachment.