This article presents an overview of Bowlby's framework of attachment for conceptualizing adult psychopathology and its application to clinical practice. The theory proposes that psychological disorders reflect an internalization of adverse attachment experiences, both current and past, and in particular those that undermine self-reliance and feelings of security. Clinical syndromes indicate intensification of anxiety, depression, and/or anger to a degree which interferes with adaptive functioning and interactions with others. The secure base of therapy provides a new model of what close relationships can be like, as well as a setting for exploring and possibly modifying the meaning given to separation and loss experiences. Issues of prevention and social policy are also discussed.
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