Separation Theory integrates psychoanalytic and existential systems of thought by showing how early interpersonal pain, and separation anxiety and later death anxiety lead to the development of powerful psychological defenses. These defenses attempt to cope with and minimize painful experiences and emotions suffered in one’s developmental years but later predispose limitations and maladaptation in adult life.  The name Separation Theory was derived from the understanding that human life can be conceptualized as a series of successive separation experiences ending in death, the ultimate separation.

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