Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds: II. Some Principles of Psychotherapy: The Fiftieth Maudsley Lecture (expanded version)

  • John Bowlby (a1)


An account is given of how a clinician guided by attachment theory approaches the clinical conditions to which the theory is held to apply, which include states of anxiety, depression and emotional detachment. Assessment of a patient is in terms of the patterns of attachment and caregiving behaviour which he commonly shows and of the events and situations, both recent and past, which may have precipitated or exacerbated his symptoms. The problems posed by relevant information being suppressed or falsified are noted.

Viewed in this perspective a psychotherapist is seen to have a number of interrelated tasks: (a) to provide the patient with a secure base from which he, the patient, can explore himself and his relationships; (b) and (c) to examine with the patient the ways in which he tends to construe current interpersonal relationships, including that with the therapist, and the resulting predictions he makes and actions he takes, and the extent to which some may be inappropriate; (d) to help him consider whether his tendencies to misconstrue, and as a result to act misguidedly, can be understood by reference to the experiences he had with attachment figures during his childhood and adolescence, and perhaps may still be having.



Hide All

Part II

Argles, P. & Mackenzie, M. (1970) Crisis intervention with a multi-problem family: a case study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 11, 187–95.
Balint, M. (1965) Primary Lave and Psychoanalytic Technique. London: Tavistock.
Balint, M. (1968) The Basic Fault. London: Tavistock.
Caplan, G. (1964) Principles of Preventive Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books; London: Tavistock.
Cohen, M. B., Baker, G., Cohen, R. A., Fromm-Reichmann, F. & Weigert, E. (1954) An intensive study of twelve cases of manic-depressive psychosis. Psychiatry, 17, 103–37.
Deutsch, H. (1937) Absence of grief. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 6, 1222.
Fleming, J. & Altschul, S. (1963) Activation of mourning and growth by psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 44, 419–31.
Guntrip, H. (1975) My experience of analysis with Fairbairn and Winnicott. International Review of Psychoanalysis, 2, 145–56.
Hamburg, D. A. & Adams, J. E. (1967) A perspective on coping behaviour. Archives of General Psychiatry, 17, 277–84.
Hamburg, D. A., Hamburg, B. A. & Barchas, J. D. (1974) Anger and depression in perspective of behavioural biology. In Parameters of Emotion (ed. Levi, L.). New York: Raven Press.
Heard, D. H. (1974) Crisis intervention guided by attachment concepts: a case study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 15, 111–22.
Heard, D. H. (in press) From object relations to attachment: a framework for family therapy. British Journal of Medical Psychology.
Lind, E. (1973) From false-self to true-self functioning: a case in brief psychotherapy. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 46, 381–9.
Main, T. F. (1957) The ailment. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 30, 129–45.
Malan, D. M. (1963) A Study of Brief Psychotherapy. London: Tavistock Publications.
Malan, D. M. (1973) Therapeutic factors in analytically-oriented brief psychotherapy. In Support, Innovation and Autonomy (ed. Gosling, R. H.). London: Tavistock Publications.
Malan, D. M., Heath, E. S., Bacal, H. A. & Balfour, F. H. G. (1975) Psychodynamic changes in untreated neurotic patients: II. Apparently genuine improvements. Archives of General Psychiatry, 32, 110–26.
Neki, J. S. (1976) An examination of the cultural relativism of dependence as a dynamic of social and therapeutic relationships. Parts 1 and 2. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 49, 122.
Paul, N. L. (1967) The role of mourning and empathy in conjoint marital therapy. In Family Therapy and Disturbed Families (eds Zuk, G. H. and Boszormenyi-Nagy, I.), pp 186205. Palo Alto, California: Science and Behavior Books.
Pedder, J. (1976) Attachment and new beginning. International Review of Psychoanalysis, 3, 491–7.
Raphael, B. (1975) Management of pathological grief. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 9, 173–80.
Raphael, B. & Maddison, D. C. (1976) The care of bereaved adults. In Modern Trends in Psychosomatic Medicine (ed. Hill, O.). London: Butterworth.
Rosen, V. H. (1955) The reconstruction of a traumatic childhood event in a case of derealization. Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association, 3, 211–21. Reprinted in Survivors of Suicide (ed. Cain, A. C.). Springfield, Illinois: C. C. Thomas, 1972.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1975) Helplessness: on Depression, Development and Death. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.
Truax, C. B. & Mitchell, K. M. (1971) Research on certain therapist interpersonal skills in relation to process and outcome. In Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (eds Bergin, A. E. and Garfield, S. L.). New York: Wiley.
Winnicott, D. W. (1965) The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment. London: Hogarth Press.
Winnicott, D. W. (1971) Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock Publications.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds: II. Some Principles of Psychotherapy: The Fiftieth Maudsley Lecture (expanded version)

  • John Bowlby (a1)
Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *