The Applications of Attachment Theory to Psychotherapy

Strongly Disagree Disagree Does Not Apply Agree Strongly Agree I am able to describe 3 types of insecure attachment style and their origins in corresponding early failures in caregivers' responsiveness I can conceptualise and describe the adult couple relationships in attachment terms, and able to map at least 3 of these terms onto my clinical work I am able to relate the theory of narrative coherence as a marker of secure or insecure attachment and to discuss how this relates to the task of psychotherapy I can discuss how we can apply knowledge of attachment patterns in the organisation of the [...]

The Applications of Attachment Theory to Psychotherapy2019-08-14T17:21:16+01:00


Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1964). Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly of Behavior and Development 10:51-58. Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Bell, S.M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development 41: 49-67. Ainsworth, M.D.S., Bell, S.M. & Stayton, D.J. (1971). Individual differences in strange- situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H.R. Schaffer (Ed.) The Origins of Human Social Relations. New York: Academic Press. Ainsworth, M.D.S., Blehar, M.C., Waters, E. & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Press. [...]


Seminal writings

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten A few of the large number of references, which only touch the enormous basis of books, articles and websites devoted to attachment, are worth highlighting as next steps for a psychotherapist who, in addition to face to face professional development, would like to deepen their knowledge of attachment theory by reading. Out of all books, the first to read is Bowlby (1988), which has lost none of its vivid readability and practical relevance. A second book that it is hard to be without, despite its size and cost, is the Handbook of Attachment, Cassidy & Shaver (2008). [...]

Seminal writings2019-08-22T15:28:13+01:00

Cultural spaces and resources

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten Attachment theory sometimes seems to be everywhere, and yet it has few centres of focus, let alone cultural spaces, that explain, organise or further its popularity. The good side of that is that it shows how much the continued growth and vitality of the tradition are due to the power of its concepts, rather than to any degree of marketing, however understated. The bad side is that everyone can use the words of attachment theory - sometimes wildly incorrectly; that when there are controversies there is nobody to decide, or even to organise a debate [...]

Cultural spaces and resources2019-08-22T15:27:28+01:00

The bridge between neurobiology and attachment theory

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten There is a wide field of people with a common interest in neurobiology and attachment theory. Out of much literature, it is possible to highlight Allan Schore (2011), and for its perhaps somewhat greater readability Cozolino (2010). Allan Schore is a psychologist with a scientific interest in neurobiology, which he has researched in depth in order to build theoretical connections between our understanding of the nervous system and relatedness. In Schore (2011), his latest book, he summarises the clinical implications of his work. He has emphasised the neurobiological underpinnings of attachment, a focus that he sees as both [...]

The bridge between neurobiology and attachment theory2019-08-22T15:26:43+01:00

Attachment theory applied to practitioner and client

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten This is an important application of attachment theory. By making a broad assessment of the attachment style of client and therapist, it becomes easier to understand processes and even enactments in the therapeutic relationship. It is rare that clients are formally assessed for their attachment style, either by an AAI or a self-reporting instrument. Overall there are similarities between this application of attachment theory and that for couple and family therapy dynamics. Two main sources are Allen (2012) and Wallin (2007). Client attachment patterns - Allen There are a number of implications that arise out of understanding attachment [...]

Attachment theory applied to practitioner and client2019-08-22T15:26:04+01:00

Mentalization theory and its roots in attachment theory

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten Another important theory strongly influenced by attachment theory is the construct of "mentalizing", originally described by Fonagy (1991). Mentalizing refers to the capacity to understand mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, thoughts, and feelings) in oneself and others. It was originally put forward based on clinical observation and research on the "reflective function" scale of the AAI as the potential mediating factor between attachment and mental health (Fonagy et al., 1991a; 1991b; 2002). Fonagy has stressed that being able to mentalize entails being able to adopt the "intentional" stance (Dennett, 1987): Mental states are always intentional in that [...]

Mentalization theory and its roots in attachment theory2019-08-22T15:25:21+01:00

The categories of attachment security and insecurity

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten From the early days of Bowlby's forensic work, attachment theory has also been applied to the severest forms of mental disorder and psychopathology, often rooted in trauma and abuse. Trauma therapy and innovations in working with (complex) trauma have extensively benefited from the perspectives of attachment theory. Initially there may have been a thought that it was attachment security per se that had direct implications for mental health, but this was not confirmed by research. A main reason why the addition of disorganised attachment as a category to attachment patterns is so important, is that [...]

The categories of attachment security and insecurity2019-08-22T15:24:34+01:00

Attachment theory, adolescence and adulthood; the AAIs

Authored by Henry Strick van Linschoten Mary Main (George et al., 1985; Main et al., 2003; Main, 1999) was another pioneer of attachment theory. She was one of the central developers of the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), a structured interview lasting over an hour. It is recorded, transcribed and the transcript analysed. It is designed to elicit attachment patterns in adulthood. A good description of the AAI, how it is conducted, and the research based on it, can be found in Hesse (2008). The premise of the AAI is that attachment styles determine the way that individuals narrate their history in the presence [...]

Attachment theory, adolescence and adulthood; the AAIs2019-08-22T15:23:55+01:00