Affect regulation: Holding, containing and mirroring

Abstract

Gergely and colleagues' state that their “Social Biofeedback Theory of Parental Affect Mirroring” can be seen as a kind of operationalization of the classical psychoanalytic concepts of holding, containing and mirroring. This article examines to what extent the social biofeedback theory of parental affect mirroring may be understood as a specification of these concepts. It is argued that despite similarities at a descriptive level the concepts are embedded in theories with different ideas of subjectivity. Hence an understanding of the concept of affect regulation as a concretization and specification of the classical concepts dilutes the complexity of both the concept of affect regulation and of the classical concepts.


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The International Journal of Psychoanalysis

The International Journal of Psychoanalysis is a fully peer reviewed journal published six times a year. It is the only psychoanalytic journal regularly publishing extensive contributions by authors throughout the world in all main European languages.

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