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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Transforming Attachments
How do we progress from an insecure to secure attachment pattern, and what type of psychotherapy facilitates this process?

A 2-day conference with
Sarah Daniel, Professor Pasco Fearon, Tirril Harris, Professor Jeremy Holmes, Dr John Andrew Miller, Dr Mario Marrone, Professor Howard Steele, Professor Miriam Steele

Friday 20 & Saturday 21 February 2015

Friday 20 February 2015
09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Professor Pasco Fearon

Genes and long-term follow-up studies of attachment: Shedding new light on old problems
The concept of an internal working model is central in the conceptualisation of developmental continuity and inter-generational transmission of patterns of attachment. Attachment theory has tended to make two basic assumptions about the ways these internal working models work: first, they are believed to arise in early development in response to variations in the quality of care and in that sense they are initially highly plastic and environmentally-driven. Second, these working models, though presumed to be open to change, are expected to be quite stable over time and come to influence attachment-related functioning across the lifespan. In this talk, I will present two lines of evidence that seem to confirm some aspects of this theory and question others. In particular, I will outline the results of behavioural-genetic studies of attachment and long-term longitudinal follow-up studies of attachment from infancy to adulthood, which suggest marked discontinuity between early and later attachments. The findings prompt us to question what precisely is measured when we measure attachment through narrative-based interviews.
11.15   Coffee
11.45   Professor Howard Steele

Stability and change in attachment representations from expectant motherhood to six years later
This talk will consider research findings showing stable and positive change towards secure attachment relationships that were identified in Adult Attachment Interviews over a 5-6 year period, including the transition to motherhood for 51 mothers. At the level of AAI classifications these results show remarkable stability, and where change occurred it was in the direction of security twice as often as a change to insecurity. With regards to dimensional scores, there was also significant change in terms of less idealization, less anger, and less derogation. These results will be discussed in terms of what therapeutic interventions and life events may have led to such developments. Results from other studies suggesting positive results in maintaining coherence and reflective functioning in adulthood will also be presented.
13.00   Lunch break (Lunch included)
14.15   Professor Miriam Steele

Interventions aimed at promoting increased reflective functioning in adulthood
This talk will summarize findings from the Group Attachment Based Intervention with vulnerable parents in New York City, where increasing Reflective Functioning in parents is a central goal. Video illustrations of the clinical work and the sound and look of parents demonstrating their new found reflective (mentalizing) skills will be shown. As well, this talk will summarize other intervention work that has achieved changes in attachment classifications or increases in coherence and reflective functioning via therapy.
15.30   Tea
15.45   Professor Jeremy Holmes

Abseiling the abyss: A clinical perspective on 'earned security'
I shall start by outlining what I see as the key features of attachment-informed psychodynamic psychotherapy -- homing in on points of overlap and difference with Independent/relational approaches. I shall then suggest that the move from insecure to more secure patterns of relating -- to oneself and others -- is difficult and disturbing, and that, however 'secure' ones therapeutic 'secure base', change entails experiencing, facing and surviving moments of utter vulnerability and helplessness.
17.00   End

Saturday 21 February 2015
09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   Dr Mario Marrone

What do we know about psychotherapy as an intervention for insecure attachment?
Attachment security and attachment insecurity are constructs that cannot be reduced to simple ideas. It is important to define these terms and reappraise them in their complexity as well as in the interface between empirical research, clinical observations and theory building. It is equally important to understand the relationship between attachment security and resilience and between attachment insecurity and vulnerability. We know that attachment insecurity does not necessarily and directly lead to psychopathology, but it does create a kind of vulnerability that in the presence of other adverse factors is likely to result in overt signs of psychopathology. When this occurs, the clinician is confronted with the need to help the patient resolve not only the presenting clinical issues but also the underlying vulnerability. In this talk, Mario Marrone will review some existing models of attachment-based psychotherapeutic interventions and will propose a unifying model that is fundamentally based on Bowlby’s original teachings.
11.15   Coffee
11.45   Tirril Harris

"Earning" security of attachment: how is this possible through psychotherapy?
John Bowlby and Colin Murray Parkes realised that identifying the differing patterns of attachment manifested by different people who had suffered loss, and adapting psychotherapy accordingly, better helped them to deal with the bereavement. Similarly, using this approach provides a tool to examine how attachment patterns may change in psychotherapy. Starting from examples of the various types of insecure attachment style, and their origins in corresponding early failures of caregiver responsiveness, this talk will suggest how appropriately responsive psychotherapy, that takes account of these differences, can help the "earning" of attachment security by the client.
13.00   Lunch break (Lunch included)
14.15   Sarah Daniel

Psychotherapy as a vehicle of attachment security: is change possible and how?
The extent to which psychotherapy can bring about transformation from insecure to genuinely secure internal working models is frequently debated in the clinical and research literature. Our working models of attachment are complex and deep-rooted structures but are nevertheless subject to change given certain therapeutic conditions. In this presentation, Sarah Daniel will draw on case material from psychotherapy to illustrate how we can apply knowledge of attachment patterns in guiding therapeutic interactions and in the organisation of the treatment process.
15.30   Tea
15.45   Panel Discussion

Transforming Attachments: Achieving and Maintaining Earned Security in an Insecure World chaired by Dr John Andrew Miller
17.00   End

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Payments are made on a secure partner website.
Please read our booking conditions before making your booking

Self-funded: £250
Organisationally-funded: £350
As part of season ticket: £112.50
CPD Hours

Certificates of Attendance for 12 hours will be provided at the event

W12 Conference Centre
150 Artillery Lane
W12 0HS

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
13.00 Lunch
17.00 End

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
13.00 Lunch
17.00 End