How Did the Theory Develop?

Through many years of clinical practice treating children, adolescents, and adults, through in-depth scholarly study of theories and research in psychology, child and adult psychoanalysis, the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science, through teaching, writing, and raising children, the Piepers came to feel that a better understanding was needed and could be developed about why people are not living the lives they want to live, why many people are unhappy in spite of their success in love and at work, and what can be done to help them. Over seventeen years they worked on creating what came to be a unified, comprehensive theory about the centrality of the caregiving relationship in both child development and psychological treatment, and they conducted a naturalistic clinical research project to demonstrate their approach in residential treatment of adolescent wards of the state (Pieper & Pieper, 1995).