Attachment based psychotherapy | Etherapy

Attachment-based psychotherapy

This forms part of the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy.

This therapy is suitable for adults and children.

This therapy comes from the work of John Bowlby. The basic idea of his work is that humans need attachments to others in their lives and cannot operate well in the world without these bonds. These attachments are natural, however they can be influenced in infancy by significant others. For example, if the child’s mother or other family members do not have a dependable and secure attachment, then the child will grow without trusting others and will be unable to make stable relationships.

Bowlby also states losses at a young age can lead to emotional problems for them as adults. An example from his work states that if a parent is hospitalised the child separated from the parent will show signs of anger, depression, sadness and eventually will act normally. This normal behaviour will mask the fact that the child cannot show affection to new people. When the parent returns there would be rejecting behaviour on the part of the child.

When a child is younger, the separation can lead to fear of being abandoned, leading to being clingy or avoiding relationships as an adult. For and older child this can mean they feel responsible for the separation and this can lead to guilt and feeling ‘bad’.

The therapist helps to identify the patterns of behaviour in relationships and this enables clients to get a handle on and break the self-defeating behaviours that prevent getting to close to other people.