Attachment Theory

More on The Great Attachment Debate

We continue to review The Great Attachment Debate, a series of interviews published in Psychology Networker.  I wrote about the first three experts in last month’s blog post. This time I will summarize the contributions of Dr. David Schnarch, Sue Johnson, and Dr. Alan Schore and invite readers to share their views. The next interview was with Dr. David Schnarch, who strongly attacked attachment-based therapy. He reported having so much difficulty not with the theory of Attachment, but more how it has been used to create therapeutic interventions. He actively challenged the view that marital problems result from problems with attachment and that what partners need is secure attachment.… Read more...

Lorie Teagno’s response to “The Great Attachment Debate”

I really enjoyed and felt enlivened by David Schnarch's presentation and felt like a professional “prayer” was answered as I have struggled in the past decade with the direction couples therapy was going with the dominance of attachment, neurobiology and EFT focus as THE ANSWER, the ONE TRUE path to helping clients become whole, satisfied and intimate beings and partners. While the attachment research has been an asset to clinicians, where I find myself confused and perplexed is when the research on attachment is applied to clinical interpretations of what a resilient, loving adult relationship is and should be.… Read more...

Working to Build Attachment while Facilitating Differentiation

Last month I invited readers to list Attachment and Differentiation-based interventions in two different lists on the blog. A special thanks to those of you who shared your ideas. Developing a strong direction with a high probability of success in couples therapy often involves supporting the couple's bond and simultaneously stressing differentiation. What does this actually look like as you start out with a couple? In early sessions, it is important to define what positive outcome each partner is trying to create. Ask the partners, “What kind of relationship do you want to be in?”  Often couples come to therapy because they are stimulating negative, traumatic reactions in each other and can't extract themselves from these cycles without help from a third party.… Read more...

Integrating The Best of Attachment and Differentiation Theories

Another year has arrived. I will continue to write blogs and give you thoughts and transcripts. One of my aims for this year is to encourage more involvement on this blog from you, my readers. My online training groups have been using their blogs in stimulating discussions. I’d like you to jump in and do the same. For this first blog of 2011, I’ll make this kind of interaction easy. I'm going to ask you to list attachment based and differentiation based interventions that you frequently use with your couples. I focus a lot on integrating the best of these two theories.  Couples therapy is most effective when the therapist knows how to use both attachment and differentiation based interventions and conceptualizations.… Read more...

Please List Attachment Based Interventions That You Use

I enjoy seeing an exchange of ideas here on the blog. I invite you to list attachment based interventions that you use. Here's one to get us started: Constancy of Contact. Find one time each week that the couple will get together without discussing relationship problems. This can be a walk, a coffee date or doing a shared activity. The time and place are agreed to ahead of time and neither partner needs to request it. This is designed to build reliability, accountability and time together without stress.… Read more...

Attachment and Differentiation in Couples Therapy

This year's couples conference has now come and gone. Once again we enjoyed dynamic presentations from state of the art thinkers and practioners, such as Harville Hendrix, Pat Love, Cloe Madanes, Terry Real, Dan Siegel, Stan Tatkin and Jeff Zeig. I meant to share some highlights with you sooner, but got swamped with commitments that always crop up at the end of the training year and then had a wonderful trip to France with Pete and Molly. I especially loved the panel on “Attachment and Differentiation in Couples Therapy” that I did with Stan Tatkin. I structured this panel into the conference because I believe it is time for people our field to begin integrating the best of these two theories. … Read more...

Attachment Theory in Couples Therapy

For three weeks in November, I served as a faculty member of a wonderful on-line forum on Attachment Theory and Couples Therapy. We had an enlightening dialogue about both the research and clinical application of attachment theory concepts to couples therapy. In the process, I discovered the Couple Attachment Interview. I was introduced to it by Carolyn and Phil Cowan. While many of you may know the AAI, this interview is specific to couples. The CAI is an interview where an individual provides a narrative about his/her relationship with a current romantic/marriage partner. It is designed to assess a partner's frame of mind about attachment.… Read more...
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