The Adult Attachment Projective Picture System

Attachment Theory and Assessment in Adults

Carol George and Malcolm L. West

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
March 12, 2012
ISBN 9781462504251
Price: $52.00
304 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
April 10, 2012
ePub ?
Price: $52.00
304 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $104.00 $57.20
304 Pages

This book presents cutting-edge research on adult attachment together with a complete overview of the Adult Attachment Projective Picture System (AAP), the authors' validated developmental assessment. In addition to identifying attachment classification groups, the AAP yields important information about dimensions—including defensive processes—not evaluated by other available measures. Detailed case illustrations show what the AAP looks like “in action” and what it reveals about individuals' early experiences, sense of self, and capacity to engage in close, protective relationships. The AAP can be used in clinical or research settings; the concluding chapter discusses promising applications to studying the neurobiology of attachment.

“Research on patterns of adults' thoughts, memories, and feelings about intimate family relationships—especially child-parent relationships—has developed steadily and dramatically. One of the biggest challenges is developing assessment tools that successfully balance scientific precision, reliability, and validity with practical clinical utility. This volume represents the most promising attempt to meet this need that I have seen to date. I am certain this book will motivate researchers and clinicians alike to use the AAP in their work, and will become a well-worn reference.”

—Robert Marvin, PhD, University of Virginia, and Director, The Mary Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic

“The AAP is an exciting and useful tool for research and clinical practice. George and West describe the development and major features of the AAP while also providing incisive, original contributions to contemporary attachment theory. This book is appropriate for researchers and clinicians—both experts and novices—and for graduate students. I eagerly anticipate using it in training clinicians in Therapeutic Assessment.”

—Stephen E. Finn, PhD, Founder, Center for Therapeutic Assessment; Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

“This splendid, important book is grounded in a strong theory and infused with creativity. It presents an assessment method that is user friendly and economical, validated in clinical and community samples, and confirmed by neurobiological research. The book uses many case examples to illustrate adults' representations of attachment patterns. For graduate students, it is a guide to thinking beyond existing methods when asking new questions. For professionals in clinical and research settings, it opens a window to unconscious relationship biases.”

—Karin Grossmann, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Regensburg, Germany

Table of Contents

I. Background

1. Narrative versus Non-Narrative Assessment of Adult Attachment

2. Defining Attachment Stories as Representational Precipitates

II. Development, Validation, and Coding of the AAP

3. The Development and Validation of the AAP

4. The Attachment Self: The AAP Attachment Content Coding Dimensions

5. Defensive Processes in the AAP

III. Using the AAP

6. Secure Attachment

7. Dismissing Attachment

8. Preoccupied Attachment

9. Dysregulated Segregated Systems: Unresolved Attachment, Failed Mourning, and Preoccupation with Suffering

10. Using the AAP in Neurobiology Research, Anna Buchheim and Carol George

About the Authors

Carol George, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Mills College in Oakland, California. She has been at the forefront of developing attachment assessments for children and adults, including the Attachment Doll Play Projective Assessment, the Caregiving Interview, the Adult Attachment Interview, and the AAP. Dr. George has authored numerous research articles and book chapters on adult and child attachment and caregiving, and is coeditor, with Judith Solomon, of the book Disorganized Attachment and Caregiving. She teaches courses in development and attachment, co-directs a master’s-degree program in infant mental health, and trains and consults on the application of attachment assessment in research and clinical settings.

Malcolm L. West, PhD, until his death in 2020, was retired Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Dr. West worked as a clinician and researcher throughout his career. His research used attachment theory in clinical research, including studies of cardiac rehabilitation patients, depression in women, and suicidal behavior in adolescents. In addition to the Adult Attachment Projective Picture System, Dr. West developed self-report assessments of attachment in adults and adolescents.


Developmental and clinical researchers; clinical psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and other clinicians who want to integrate attachment into their practices.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.