Giovanni Liotti (1945–2018): the Pied Noir of research in attachment and psychotherapy

This article is a portrait of Giovanni Liotti, eminent psychiatrist and
scholar of attachment theory who recently passed away. In this
paper, we recall some fundamental steps in his professional and
personal life: Liotti’s encounter and friendship with Bowlby; Liotti’s
construction of a bridge between cognitive therapy (of which he
was a pioneer) and attachment theory; the interest in attachment
disorganization as a precursor of dissociative symptoms and syndromes
in adolescence and adulthood; his appreciation for Janet’s
ideas (which Liotti helped bring back to the attention of clinicians
and researchers) and his contribution in highlighting the role of real
traumatic experiences in the development of psychopathology;
Liotti’s attempt to go beyond attachment theory and formulate
for the clinical context an evolutionary theory of motivation,
which analyzes different interpersonal motivational systems
beyond attachment and caregiving, an emphasizes in particular
the importance of cooperation in psychotherapy.

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