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

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The purpose of this paper is to introduce and define self psychology and its concepts (self and selfobject) so that they can be applied toward a new understanding of the human-nonhuman animal bond. The paper utilizes selected literature from both self psychology and the human-animal bond fields. The paper contains four primary conclusions:

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.


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