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John Bowlby

John Bowlby’s attachment theory is so interesting from a metatheory viewpoint, because, over a long period of time, there are many studies of the patterns of attachment behaviour that he has formulated. There is a lot to learn about the stability of patterns in self- and relationship management and about how these patterns affect many other areas of human life and experience. The evidence is immense and makes it plausible that the fundamental experiences of closeness and distance (and their regulation) affirm themselves and the inner expectations are re-enacted again and again, through the external behaviour. That, which Freud already conceptualised as ‘Repetition Compulsion’, can also be found in Bowlby under other terminology. This is so essential for the counselling of people, because with it, the contact and relationship behaviour become so critical for counsellors, and one must always reckon with the fact that clients unconsciously bring about that which they fear.

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