In the present article the possible meanings and functions of symptoms are outlined in the light of the epistemological and theoretical framework provided by the cognitivist-constructivist psychopathological and psychotherapeutic model, including in it the theory of attachment. In this view, we can understand human behavior in its adaptive and pathological manifestations only through the reconstruction of the continuity and consistency of its development processes, of how these processes give rise to specific individual cognitive organizations, and of how such organizations, when skewed, can produce those particular psychopathological situations that we call clinical disorders all along an individual’s life. Symptoms are therefore specific modes required for maintaining (the link) the state of patients’ relationships with attachment figures and therefore an adequate consistency and stability of the sense of self that is formed in these relationships. They can also be seen as "incomplete metaphors" of critical emotional areas that have not been properly recognized, articulated and expressed in the relation to the significant other.
Keywords: Cognitivist-constructivist psychotherapy, theory of attachment, development stages, emotional regulation, personal meaning, organizations of personal meaning, "incomplete metaphors"