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This paper presents a neurobiological theory of how intimate human relationships develop over the life span. It begins with an exploration of affective neuroscience, the study of emotions, and applies these concepts to the stages of relationship development. It goes on to explore the role of neurobiology in parenting, family life, divorce, and death of a spouse. Therapeutic interventions appropriate to each stage of relationship development are also explored. Every attempt is made to make this theory scientifically sound by basing the concepts described on published scientific research. “Hard science” has been differentiated from “clinical lore.” The reader is invited to contact the author with any comments or information that will improve the theory

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Department of Psychology


The Neurobiology and Treatment of Relationships © 2024 by Harvey Joanning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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