The Human-Animal Bond and Self Psychology: Toward a New Understanding

Author(s):   Brown, S. E.

Source:  Society & Animals

Volume:  9 Number 1

Page:  25-41

Abstract:   The purpose of this paper is to introduce and define self psychology and its concepts (e.g. self and selfobject) so that they can be applied toward a new understanding of the human-animal bond.  Selected literature from both self psychology and the human-animal bond fields are utilized.  The primary conclusions are: 1) self psychology provides a unique model for understanding the depth and meaning of human-animal relationships, 2) companion animals and humans can be equally important in their selfobject roles, 3) self psychology can offer a model for understanding individual differences in attachment to companion animals, and 4) a future direction includes finding ways to assess self psychology constructs in order to measure the depth and function of the selfobject relationship.