Attachment Therapy with Adolescents and Adults: Theory and Practice Post Bowlby: Revised Edition

Author(s) : Dorothy Heard, Author(s) : Brian Lake, Author(s) : Una McCluskey

Attachment Therapy with Adolescents and Adults: Theory and Practice Post Bowlby: Revised Edition

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Also by Dorothy Heard

Also by Una McCluskey

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This is a revised edition of an important title originally published in 2009. It is written primarily for psychotherapists and other practitioners and describes a new and effective form of dynamic therapy designed for working with adults and with adolescents. The theory, on which the new form of therapy is based, is centred in a paradigm that extends and crucially alters the paradigm for developmental psychology opened by the Bowlby/Ainsworth attachment theory. It describes a pre-programmed process, the dynamics sustaining attachment and interest sharing, which is activated as soon as people perceive that they are in danger. This process is made up of seven pre-programmed systems which interact with one another as an integrated whole. They include Bowlby's two complementary goal-corrected behavioural systems: attachment (also referred to as careseeking) and caregiving. Whenever the process is able to function effectively, it enables people to adapt more constructively and co-operatively to changing circumstances.

Reviews and Endorsements

'This book should appeal to a very wide audience. All of us seek to understand one another and in doing so we all draw on a kind of biological insight into what behaviour 'means'. Watching children from another culture and with another language we understand instinctively much of what their behaviour is about. This is a book that draws systematically on watching people and thinking about behaviour in a biological way. It is both thoughtful and fascinating. It is surely a foundation on which others will want to build.'
- Ian Sinclair BA (Oxon), PhD (London), OBE, Professor Emeritus, University of York


1. Introducing a new attachment paradigm
2. Introducing a new conceptualisation of the self
3. How the self communicates with other people and with itself
4. The defensive self
5. The careseeking self
6. The caregiving self
7. The interest sharing self
8. The sexual self
9. Diagrams depicting the interplay between five of the systems that take part in the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing
10. The self under threat and alone: supported or unsupported by the sixth and seventh systems

11. The principles of therapy guided by the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing
12. Descriptions of training events that enable participants who are professional caregivers to experience the effects on the self of achieving and not achieving the goal of careseeking.
13. Working with an individual adult client with a focus on her defensive identity
14. Exploring the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing with groups of professional caregivers: The structure, composition and timing of the course of therapy attended by a group of professional caregivers
15. Exploring the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing with groups of professional caregivers: Findings that support a paradigmatic shift in therapeutic practice
16. Exploring the dynamics of attachment and interest sharing with groups of professional caregivers: How learning from attending the course is applied in a variety of work settings.

Appendix 1. Bowlby's original ideas
Appendix 2. Ainsworth's contribution to Bowlby's ideas
Appendix 3. The Strange Situation Test
Appendix 4. The Adult Attachment Investigation
The Glossary

About the Author(s)

Dorothy Heard is a pyschoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice and was formerly a Consultant in John Bowlby's Department at the Tavistock Clinic, London.

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Brian Lake was formerly Consultant in Psychotherapy at St James's University Hospital, Leeds.

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Una McCluskey graduated from University College Dublin, did her professional social work training at the University of Edinburgh, and got her PhD from the University of York. She has written extensively on individuals, couple, family and group systems, and has developed her own model for exploring attachment dynamics in adult life. Her research on affect attunement in adult psychotherapy led her to develop a theory of interaction for psychotherapy and particularly to identify and rate the concept of goal corrected empathic attunement. Throughout the last ten years she has been providing courses for workers and experienced professionals in the field of psychology, psychotherapy, social work, medicine, organisational management and development, education, nursing, art therapy, legal practice, religious and pastoral carers, to enable them explore their own dynamics of attachment in adult life as outlined by the work of Heard and Lake and to check its application to their personal and work life.

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