307 Attachment: A Continuing Debate

Jerome Kagan and Dan Siegel

Jerome KaganDan Siegel

Attachment Theory has proven itself to be more than a passing trend. It’s formed the basis for such an array of treatment models and approaches that many of today’s therapists have attached themselves to Attachment Theory. But at what cost? In this dialogue from our first annual State of the Art event, attachment critic Jerome Kagan and attachment theorist Dan Siegel debate:

  • the impact of early childhood experience on a person’s life when taken into context with temperament, familial identification, sociocultural factors, and more
  • the reliability of attachment research, from Bowlby’s body of work to the more recent Adult Attachment Interview
  • the cultural and historical climate that made the field of psychotherapy receptive to Attachment Theory in its early stages


Jerome Kagan, PhD, has conducted groundbreaking research on inborn temperament, personality, and the interaction of biology and psychology. His books include Temperamental Thread: How Genes, Culture, Time and Luck Make Us Who We Are, Galen’s Prophecy, and An Argument for Mind. Website: http://necsi.edu/faculty/kagan.html

Daniel Siegel, MD, is a clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, codirector of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, executive director of the Mindsight Institute, and the founding editor of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. His books include The Developing Mind, Mindsight, and The Mindful Therapist. Website: http://www.drdansiegel.com/

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