Developmental theory itself is in a state of development with the availability of a flood of new information from many sources. Psychoanalytic developmental theory has expanded and is confronting issues of how to explain health as well as psychopathology. The early and complex reciprocal relationship between infant and mother provides many opportunities for development to go awry, but also enables the well-informed clinician to intervene constructively. In this brief overview, the relative influences of mother, father and infant are considered in the context of the emergence of the psychological relationship from the biological one. Also considered is the influence on therapeutic optimism of the particular developmental view held. © 1986, The American Academy of Child Psychiatry. All rights reserved.
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