Intimacy

Erik Erikson describes intimacy as a valued love relationship between man and a woman (of course in todays context we can apply it to the same gender relationships as well). The world is derived from Latin intimus meaning innermost, deepest, most secret etc. Intimacy is one of the basic life’s manifestations, which is communicated (thought no necessarily only) in love relationship. H. T. Reis and his colleague Phill Shaver in their collaboration Intimacy as an interpersonal process, Handbook of personal relationships (1988), define intimacy as an interaction between individuals, which consists of self-disclosure and responsiveness. C.L. Gordon in his Intimacy and Autonomy Development in Marriage: an Examination of the First Five Years (2006) agrees with the preceding authors and adds that the term interaction includes many different elements, such as: verbal communication, facial expression, posture, physical contact, as well as written text or even artistic expression and other communication (expressive) strategies. Each and every of these elements of interaction induces different outcomes, reactions. Thus defying intimacy is not that easy due to its complexity. J.J. Wood in his work Parental Intrusiveness and Children’s Separation Anxiety in a Clinical SampleChild Psychiatry & Human Development (2006) concludes that although the definition vary, researchers agree that intimacy is essentially composed of self-disclosure, love, affection, closeness and also mutual independence. Erikson considers the period of early adulthood a sensitive one in terms of forming the amorous identity. In terms of the concept of intimacy the emphasis is put on emotional qualities, psychological atmosphere of the family, sense of proximity, expressions of interests and warmth, cohesion, support and independence. Within the family this can be expressed in marital, parental or sibling form. There are various concepts and definitions of intimacy within the various theories.

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