In this paper I discuss a contemporary ‘take’ on the concept of adaptation in light of Crichton-Miller's original 1926 paper. I look briefly at some of the ways that contemporary thinking is both similar to and different from ideas of 90 years ago. In particular I think about how recent neurobiological findings, epigenetic research and attachment theory have cast new light on our understanding of the ways humans adapt to social and emotional environments. It looks at how psychiatric presentations which are seen as maladaptive might well have an adaptive origin in early life. In this account I emphasise how a more modern version of evolutionary theory can be developed, particularly one influenced by life history theory, and suggest that such ideas have powerful explanatory power as well as being based solidly in good research.